The Bangladesh cricket team will look to take an unassailable 3-0 lead when they take on the West Indies in the third match of the five-ODI series at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today. The match, a day-night affair, will begin at 2:30 pm and satellite television Channel 9 will provide live coverage.
Fast bowler Rubel Hossain coming in for the injured newcomer Abul Hasan is the only change in the Bangladesh team from the side that won the second ODI in Khulna.
Bangladesh's 2-0 lead came off the back of two utterly comprehensive victories in the first two ODIs in Khulna, the second of which the home side won by 160 runs, their largest victory margin. That leaves West Indies, who were thought overwhelmingly superior before the series started and still are the better side on paper, needing to win three out of the last three matches in the capital to win the series.
The first two matches brought into stark relief the West Indian frailty against spin and their dependence on a few top order players. Bangladesh successfully exploited these chinks to leave Khulna needing to win just one more match to pull off a series win that will be a huge boost after the recent 2-0 loss in the Test series against the same opponents.
The home team's success so far has been due to their teamwork and the ability to silence explosive West Indies opener Chris Gayle and the lynchpin of their middle order Marlon Samuels. Gayle can lay to waste any bowling attack while Samuels has the class and technical know-how to outmanoeuvre Bangladesh's arsenal of spinners led by newcomer Shohag Gazi and veteran Abdur Razzak, something none of his middle order colleagues seem able to do.
If Bangladesh can dismiss the duo early, then a repeat of their bowling and batting displays in Khulna will make them favourites to take the series today. If not, then the West Indies – with other big hitters in Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith who need a platform to strut their wares -- will draw strength from the performance of their two best players and put the home side under more pressure than they have so far in this series.