Though favored, Bangladesh will have its hands full against Zimbabwe when they meet on Thursday for the first of five limited-overs internationals, its captain said. "Zimbabwe is now more disciplined, they play according to a plan," Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar told a news conference Wednesday.
Bashar said although his side were the favorites, Bangladesh had to respect Zimbabwe and watch out for players like spinner Prosper Utseya. "Our main target is to play match by match and win," said Bashar.
Bangladesh thrashed Zimbabwe by 122 runs in their last meeting at the ICC Champions Trophy in India in October. Bangladesh, however, lost a five-match limited-overs series 2-3 against Zimbabwe in Harare in July-August.
Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya said that his spinners were getting used to subcontinental pitch conditions.
"We have done homework for the spinners," Utseya said. "Bangladesh is a better side than us, but we will try to play our best cricket."
Both sides were to announce a final lineup before start of play Thursday at the Bir Srestha Motiur Rahman Stadium in southwestern Khulna city.
Bangladesh won a Twenty20 match against Zimbabwe by 43 runs on Tuesday in Khulna. Zimbabwe earlier won a warm-up match by 26 runs. The second and third one-day internationals will be held December 3 and December 5, 2006 in northern Bogra town, while the capital Dhaka will host the last two games December 8-9, 2006.
Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are currently number 10 and 11 respectively in the ICC one-day international rankings.