New Zealand is all set to embark on their Test tour of Bangladesh, with the first match scheduled to take place at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium from the 28th of November.
The Kiwis, boasting a commendable record against the Tigers in the longest format, are anticipating a formidable challenge from Bangladesh, especially on the spin-friendly pitches of the subcontinent.
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Teams Preview: Bangladesh
Bangladesh, reeling from a disappointing performance in the 2021–2023 ICC World Test Championship, looks to turn the tide as they kickstart the new WTC cycle.
In two Tests played this year, they have exhibited dominance, defeating Ireland by 7 wickets and Afghanistan by a staggering 546 runs.
Najmul Hossain Shanto will captain the side, aiming to assert his leadership in this series.
While Mushfiqur Rahim takes charge in the absence of Shakib Al Hasan and Litton Das, the batting unit will heavily rely on him.
With an impressive home average of 40, Rahim’s experience becomes invaluable.
Bangladesh’s bowling prowess at home centers around Mehidy Hasan Miraz, a formidable all-rounder with a golden arm.
His record of 89 wickets in 19 home Tests at an average of 24.40 establishes him as a key player.
Coupled with the ever-reliable Taijul Islam, the spin duo poses a significant threat to the Kiwi batters.
Bangladesh Predicted Playing XI:
- Najmul Hossain Shanto (c)
- Shadman Islam
- Mahmudul Hasan Joy
- Mushfiqur Rahim
- Nurul Hasan (wk)
- Mehidy Hasan Miraz
- Taijul Islam
- Hasan Mahmud
- Shoriful Islam
- Hasan Murad
Teams Preview: New Zealand
New Zealand, aware of the spin challenge on Bangladesh’s slow wickets, boasts a batting lineup equipped to handle the conditions.
Tom Blundell, in excellent form, leads the charge with nearly 900 runs in his last 10 matches at an impressive average of 56.19.
Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra, fresh from their performances in the recent World Cup, add depth to the batting.
Ravindra, a left-arm spinner, brings a valuable spin option to the Kiwi lineup.
The Kiwis have fortified their squad with spin options, led by Ajaz Patel, who recently achieved the milestone of 250 first-class wickets.
Mitchell Santner, in good form during the Plunket Shield season, adds depth to the spin attack.
New Zealand Predicted Playing XI:
- Tom Blundell
- Devon Conway
- Tom Latham (wk)
- Kane Williamson
- Daryl Mitchell
- Rachin Ravindra
- Mitchell Santner
- Kyle Jamieson/Neil Wagner
- Tim Southee (c)
- Ajaz Patel
- Ish Sodhi
New Zealand Test Stats and History
Total Match Played = 464
Won = 112
Lost = 182
Draw = 170
Bangladesh Test Stats and History
Total Match Played = 138
Won = 18
Lost = 102
Draw = 18
New Zealand vs Bangladesh Head To Head Stats
Total Match Played = 17
New Zealand Won = 13
Bangladesh Won = 1
Draw = 3
Weather Conditions and Pitch:
Traditionally known as a venue favoring batsmen, the Sylhet pitch is expected to deviate from its usual characteristics for this Test.
Anticipated to be spin-friendly, the pitch is likely to offer assistance to the spinners throughout the match, especially in the latter stages.
The first two days are projected to be favorable for batting, but as the match progresses, the surface is expected to slow down, making run-scoring tougher.
The Sylhet International Cricket Stadium has only hosted one Test match to date, a low-scoring encounter between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in 2018.
Zimbabwe emerged victorious by 151 runs, setting the tone for the venue’s reputation as a place where the team batting first holds a distinct advantage.
The suggested score for the team batting first is around 350 runs, aiming to set a challenging target.
Toss: To Bat
Historical data from the only Test at this venue indicates a clear preference for the team batting first.
With the pitch expected to aid spinners more as the game progresses, winning the toss and opting to bat becomes a strategic advantage.
Setting a formidable total in the first innings could put the team in a commanding position.
BAN vs NZ Winning Prediction:
Bangladesh, known for their prowess at home, enters the contest with an edge, particularly due to their formidable spin bowling attack.
However, the absence of seasoned all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and batter Litton Das raises concerns for the Tigers.
The onus will be on Bangladesh’s batters to step up and fill the void left by the experienced duo.
New Zealand, while facing the challenge of Bangladesh’s spinners on a turning track, brings a reputation for playing smart cricket.
The absence of Shakib Al Hasan provides an opportunity for the Kiwi batters to capitalize, and their depth in the squad positions them well to navigate the spin challenge.
Prediction: New Zealand to Win
Despite the challenges posed by Bangladesh at home, New Zealand’s strategic approach and the overall strength of their squad make them favorites to emerge victorious in this Test.
Barring a complete batting collapse, the Kiwis are expected to clinch the contest and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
As the cricketing world turns its attention to the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, the stage is set for an enthralling battle between Bangladesh and New Zealand.
The spin-friendly conditions, coupled with the historical tendencies of the venue, add an extra layer of excitement to the Test.
While Bangladesh aims to capitalize on home advantage, New Zealand’s resilience and strategic acumen make them a formidable opponent.
Cricket enthusiasts can anticipate a captivating encounter where the nuances of spin bowling and batting resilience will unfold in a quest for Test supremacy.