There were fears that New Zealand would end up taking the Australia route after getting bowled out for 60 in the first T20I of the series, but reality has been anything but that. The Kiwis came agonizingly close in the second T20I, falling five short of chasing 142, and then registered their first win of the series in the third T20I, giving Bangladesh a taste of their own medicine by bowling the Tigers out for 76.
Despite the loss, Bangladesh will head into the fourth T20I of the series as favorites, but the Blackcaps have certainly shown that they are here to fight. A mouth-watering contest awaits us in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Head to Head
Overall 13 | Bangladesh 2 Wins | New Zealand 11 Wins
Last Five Matches | Bangladesh 2 Wins | New Zealand 3 Wins
Though the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka saw significantly better wickets be dished out for the second and third T20Is of the series, talks about the pitch have continued to overshadow the actual cricket. One of the primary reasons is its low-scoring nature. In the last 8 T20Is at this venue (dating back to the Australia series), the average score batting first has been a paltry 117.
97 is the average target that’s been chased, and no team has chased over 123. Five of the last eight T20Is at this venue have also been won by the team batting first. So essentially, the team that wins the toss, bats first and puts over 125 on the board can consider itself the winner of the game. So far this series, the captain winning the toss has opted to bat first all three times, and there is little doubt that the toss-winning skipper will take the same route come the 4th T20I.
Then there’s the spin factor. In this series so far, a staggering 71.8% of the wickets have been taken by spinners. Each of the top five wicket-takers in the series are spinners, with Saifuddin and Mustafizur Rahman having been the only seamers to have made any impact.
In particular, left-arm orthodox spinners have been lethal. Left-arm orthodox spinners have accounted for 46.15 % wickets to fall in this series, with three of the top five wicket-takers in the series - Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra and Shakib Al Hasan - being SLA bowlers. Spinners in this series have also been extremely economical - ER of 4.6 compared to the 6.7 of their pace counterparts - thus there is little doubt that spin will dominate proceedings in the fourth T20I.
As you can see, we have stacked our side with spinners owing to the numbers clearly indicating that the game will be dictated by the slower bowlers.
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Based on your preferences, the platform will guide you to create the ideal fantasy XI.
A tough call, but it would be prudent to go with Ajaz Patel. The left-arm spinner is the highest wicket-taker in this series thus far and was also the Man of the Match in the third T20I, where he took career-best figures of 4/16. Why it would be wise to prefer Patel over a Bangladesh bowler is because while the Tigers have multiple outlets to get them breakthroughs, Patel is the go-to man for Latham. He is invariably bound to get a few scalps to his name.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Patel to take 2-3 wickets in the fourth T20I
Rachin Ravindra is a player worth taking a punt on. He has thus far not fired with the bat, but he has, however, been exceptional with the ball: he is the second-highest wicket-taker in the series behind Patel, with 5 wickets to his name. Given he opens, there is always a chase that he could excel with the bat, so laying your faith in Ravindra is a risk worth taking.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Ravindra to score 17-25 runs and take 0-1 wickets
Liton Das struck 33 in the second T20I and also looked in fine touch during his 11-ball stay in the third game before falling prey to Cole McConchie. Again, being an opener means that Das will get the best conditions to bat in, thus he is someone who has the ability to fetch a lot of points.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Das to score 18-28 runs
Mahedi Hasan has been a thorn in New Zealand’s path so far this series, and there’s every reason to believe that he’ll continue to do so. Hasan had an off day in the third T20I, but his spells of 1/15 and 2/12 in the first two games were integral to Bangladesh winning. The off-spinner is someone to watch out for.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Hasan to take 1-2 wickets
Bangladesh: Mohammad Naim, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah (c), Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mahedi Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Nasum Ahmed , Mustafizur Rahman
New Zealand: Finn Allen, Rachin Ravindra, Will Young, Tom Latham (c & wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Cole McConchie, Scott Kuggeleijn, Ajaz Patel, Jacob Duffy