Dhaka: Bangladesh is wary of a resurgent Zimbabwe in a five-match One-day series starting on Tuesday despite dominating their African rivals over the last three years.
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, standing in for the injured Mashrafe Mortaza, said his team "cannot afford to make mistakes" if they are to repeat their 4-1 win over Prosper Utseya's men in Zimbabwe in August.
"We know they have been playing some good cricket lately," Shakib, 22, the world's top-rated One-day all-rounder, told reporters on Monday.
"Our strengths are almost equal. A mistake could prove very costly. If we make a mistake, they will grab the chance.
"Still we believe we are bit ahead of them as we have more match winners and we are playing in our home conditions."
The series gets underway at Dhaka's Mirpur stadium, which will also host matches on October 29 and 31, before the final two games are played in Chittagong on November 3 and 5.
Bangladesh have not lost a bilateral One-day series against Zimbabwe in the last three years and have won 15 of their last 19 matches against all comers.
The hosts will miss their regular captain Mortaza, who has been ruled out until mid-November after undergoing surgery on both knees in Australia in August.
Shakib has filled the void admirably and was recently named the international player of the year by the well respected Wisden magazine.
Zimbabwe captain Utseya acknowledged that his team would start out as the "underdogs" but said he was still hopeful of a good performance.
"We did pretty well against Kenya at home before coming here," he said. "We beat them 4-1 and hope to carry the momentum into the matches against Bangladesh.
"Playing any home team is tough and we will probably start as the underdogs. But there are a few new faces and some of the players have shown good form recently," Utseya said.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal, Zunaed Siddique, Mohammad Ashraful, Roqibul Hassan, Mahmud Ullah, Naeem Islam, Enamul Haque, Rubel Hossain, Dollar Mahmud, Shahadat Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Nazmul Hossain.
Zimbabwe: Prosper Utseya (Capt), Malcolm Waller, Forster Mutizwa, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Hamilton Masakadza, Mark Vermuelen, Elton Chigumbura, Charles Coventry, Graham Cremer, Justice Chibhabha, Christopher Mpofu, Brendon Taylor, Tatenda Taibu, Raymond Price, Kyle Malcolm Jarvis
Stats & Trivia
Tuesday October 27, 2009 (day/night)
Start time: 14:30 local, 07:30 GMT