CHITTAGONG - The form guide below says it all. Bangladesh have lost their last five ODIs, going back to their series against India and West Indies back in August. Zimbabwe have won just one out of their last five - the famous victory against Australia in the tri-series in Harare.
But since then, Bangladesh have whitewashed Zimbabwe 3-0 in the Test series, and the visitors' confidence has taken a hit. Going into the ODI series on Friday, it will be the year's least successful ODI team, Bangladesh , who will have the upper-hand for a change. Bangladesh were reeling coming into the Tests, but wins in Dhaka, Khulna and Chittagong - the last two of which were resounding - have given them a huge lift Bangladesh are currently ninth in the ODI rankings, 11 points ahead of Zimbabwe , and the only scenario in which the visitors can overtake them is if they complete an unlikely 5-0 whitewash in the series.
Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah led by example the past few weeks, while Mominul Haque has continued to be consistent. Jubair Hossain showed glimpses of his legspin, which could secure his place in the team.
It will also be a new beginning for Mushfiqur Rahim the player, after being sacked as captain for this series. Imrul Kayes is likely to play, which would put the onus on Anamul Haque to score heavily as the opener, or the team management may look to tighten the top-order.
Zimbabwe , on the other hand, will be relying heavily on Hamilton Masakadza and Sikandar Raza to shoulder most of the responsibility. The pair cannot afford to throw away good starts, while Brendan Taylor will be expected to hit back with runs after a poor year in this format. Regis Chakabva will also be needed to carry over his good form from the Tests.
On the bowling front, Bangladesh look to be the stronger side with Shakib, Arafat Sunny and Jubair forming the spin attack, with Mashrafe leading a four-pronged pace attack. Zimbabwe , in contrast, have a young attack led by Tinashe Panyangara. John Nyumbu had a decent outing in the tri-series with six wickets at 31.50, and Zimbabwe will hope he builds on that. The visitors will certainly miss Prosper Utseya in the ODI series.
Mashrafe Mortaza is about to make his third coming as Bangladesh captain after his first two appointments ended in injuries. He will have to look after his team as well as himself, as he has been injured several times in the past. A fine one-day bowler, Mashrafe will be key with the ball if there is dew in the evening.
One of Zimbabwe 's few positives on this tour so far has been Sikandar Raza, who made three half-centuries and in the Chittagong Test looked to dominate the Bangladesh attack. He has had an above-average 2014 so far, and Zimbabwe would be banking on him to continue this good form.
The uncapped Sabbir Rahman and Jubair Hossain are likely to miss out if Bangladesh persist with three seamers. With Shafiul Islam being a late addition, he is more likely to play than Rubel Hossain. Imrul Kayes will possibly bat at No. 3 if given the chance.
Zimbabwe will no doubt be making plenty of changes from the last time they played an ODI , in September. Their top four, however, is likely to remain intact. Regis Chakabva's good form will keep him in the line-up, while Timycen Maruma's fifty in the practice game could push his case ahead of others.
BANGLADESH (POSSIBLE): Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Arafat Sunny, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain.
ZIMBABWE (POSSIBLE): Vusi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor (wk), Regis Chakabva, Elton Chigumbura (capt), Timycen Maruma, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Neville Madziva, Shingi Masakadza/Solomon Mire, John Nyumbu.