Bangladesh will hope that the latest switch in formats leads to a turn in fortunes too, when they lock horns with South Africa in the first of two Twenty20 Internationals at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Thursday (October 26).
South Africa have been dominant in the two Tests and three One-Day Internationals so far, winning all the matches with varying degrees of comfort.
From the home side’s point of view, Faf du Plessis, the regular captain, has been withdrawn from the T20I series after sustaining a lower back injury injury in the final ODI, and JP Duminy has been handed the captaincy duties. But Hashim Amla, who was rested for the final ODI, has returned, with Dwaine Pretorius, the allrounder, added as du Plessis’s replacement.
After such bruising victories so far, South Africa might want to afford themselves the luxury to experiment with new names in the T20Is. Therefore, it won’t be surprising if Robbie Frylinck, the uncapped right-arm medium pacer, features in the playing XI on Thursday.
South Africa: JP Duminy (capt), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers, Robbie Frylinck, Beuran Hendricks, David Miller, Mangaliso Mosehle, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mominul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Liton Das (wk), Nasir Hossain, Mehedi Hassan, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Mohammad Saifuddin.
“Each game has its own pressures, this one will have a few more pressures. I’m at that age where I’m not trying new things. I pretty much know my game. For me it’s just about keeping it as simple as possible, sticking to my game plans that have gotten me here; hopefully it will go well,” said the 33-year-old, who has a wealth of T20 experience.
For Bangladesh, this will be the first T20I series without the services of Mashrafe Mortaza, who hung up his boots in the shortest format after the away series against Sri Lanka earlier this year. Shakib Al Hasan will be at the helm in Mortaza’s place.
The absence of Tamim Iqbal, who is out with a thigh injury, and Mustafizur Rahman, who has been a match-winner in the shorter formats but has an ankle injury, won’t help Bangladesh’s cause much either.
Mushfiqur Rahim was Bangladesh’s outstanding performer in the ODI series with a century and a half-century, and the Test captain will have a crucial role to play if Bangladesh are to pose a threat. But they will need more players to contribute if they are to snap the winless streak and return home with something to show for their efforts.
Bangladesh will battle not only iffy form, but also poor history in the format; the sides have played each other in four games previously, all of which have been won by South Africa.