Pacers hold the key | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 25, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:42 AM, December 25, 2016

Pacers hold the key

How difficult is this series going to be for Bangladesh? A mere glance at New Zealand's record at home perhaps best describes the huge task that lies ahead for the Tigers.

Since 2015, the Black Caps have played 25 ODIs at home and have won 21 of those. The only teams who have managed to beat them in ODIs in the last two years have been Sri Lanka and Australia.

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While the Aussies beat them once in February this year, the Lankans managed to beat them thrice and two of those wins came during a long seven-match ODI series.

None of the other teams who toured New Zealand during this period -- Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa -- managed to repeat the feat.

Even a powerhouse like India, who toured New Zealand back in January 2014, lost the five-match ODI series 4-0.

For Bangladesh to win even one game in this three-match ODI series, they will need all their players to be alert and at their best.

They will be encouraged by the fact that their batting record against New Zealand, away from home, is a lot better than against a majority of the other full member nations.

Bangladesh's batsmen average 21.75 against the Black Caps away from home. They have better numbers only against Ireland, Zimbabwe and England.

In addition, they also have two batsmen who have scored centuries against New Zealand away from home -- Mahmudullah Riyad and Imrul Kayes. Only in Zimbabwe, with five centuries, have they managed to put in a better display.

However, it has been their bowlers that have let them down during tours to New Zealand. Their bowlers average 49 in New Zealand in just seven ODIs.

Their over reliance on slow left-arm bowlers and spinners in the past was one of the reasons why they failed to win in New Zealand.

However, with Bangladesh's pace department having gone through a major makeover in the last two years, things could be interesting in this series.

On the one hand you have got a team that has an impeccable home record and on the other side you have got the Tigers who have surprised the world in the last two years.

While New Zealand will definitely be the favourites in this series, they won't be foolish enough to take this series for granted.

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