/Rains loom large as Bangladesh snap at Sri Lankas heels

Rains loom large as Bangladesh snap at Sri Lankas heels

WORLD CUP 2019

In the Asia Cup in September, their last meeting, Bangladesh hammered Sri Lanka with Mushfiqur Rahim scoring a century.

In the Asia Cup in September, their last meeting, Bangladesh hammered Sri Lanka with Mushfiqur Rahim scoring a century. © Getty

Given the brand of cricket that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have played so far in this tournament, it is incongruous that the Sri Lankans are actually above Bangladesh in the standings. They have both played three matches, both won one apiece but whereas Sri Lanka’s washout against Pakistan gave them a point for a no-result, Bangladesh have lost their last two matches despite playing some enterprising cricket. Sri Lanka have been anything but enterprising in their displays.

Their victory over Afghanistan in Cardiff a week ago was one they simply had to get however it came and indeed they did get it, although in a far from convincing fashion, losing seven wickets for 36 runs in the space of 11 overs when they batted. It is the batting collapse of the tournament so far, an accolade they won’t enjoy. Their bowlers, particularly Nuwan Pradeep and Lasith Malinga, dug them out a hole, though, and secured the win but it wasn’t the confidence inducing performance that they would have hoped for after their first game loss to New Zealand. The less said about that hammering the better.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, have played some good cricket in all three of their matches so far. The defeat of South Africa at The Oval was a victory and performance of huge significance. Defeats to New Zealand and England since have been a come down but against New Zealand, they pushed through all the way, almost snatching a victory. The 106-run defeat against England was a disappointing showing overall but Shakib Al Hasan’s fine hundred was a reminder of the skill Mashrafe Mortaza’s team have in their party.

They will be particularly looking to target the weakness of the Sri Lankan batting line-up. Their collapse against Afghanistan was spectacular but New Zealand bowled them out for 136 in their first match, too. Sri Lanka’s displays in the warm-up games didn’t inspire much confidence either and it has been a long-term issue which they have yet to resolve. In the last twelve months, they have been bowled out for less than 200 in more than a quarter of their ODI innings. Overall, they have lost all ten wickets within the 50 overs in 13 innings out of 22 in that time. They have passed 300 on just four occasions. At this World Cup, only Afghanistan’s is a weaker batting line-up.

The form of Angelo Mathews is a concern. He has two ducks from two innings and although he scored runs in the warm-up match against South Africa, his team needs far more from one of their experienced players, particularly given the exasperating decision to leave Dinesh Chandimal, one of their best batsmen, at home. Captain Dimuth Karunaratne has put his head down and Kusal Perera played a decent hand against Afghanistan but aside from those two, the rest of the order has been woeful. The foundations of Sri Lanka’s batting are non-existent.

For all their good work so far this tournament, Bangladesh need a victory. The defeat of South Africa seems a while ago now and to retain realistic ambitions of a semi-final berth, they need to be beating teams like Sri Lanka. After defeats against two of the stronger teams in the tournament, they will certainly not want a washout against one of the weaker sides which could be on the cards given the dire forecast.

The recent head-to-head between the two sides has been more even than their respective merits might suggest. They played each other four times last year, winning two apiece. In the Asia Cup in September, their last meeting, Bangladesh hammered Sri Lanka with Mushfiqur Rahim scoring a century. But in three matches in a tri-series at the start of 2018, Sri Lanka doled out a couple of hammerings of their own. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then though and given the teams’ respective recent form, a Sri Lankan victory would be a stunning reversal.

When: Tuesday June 10, 2019. 10:30am Local Time.

Where: The County Ground, Bristol.

What to expect: The forecast is horrendous for the match, with the forecast 24 hours before the start predicting a 90% chance of rain for most of the day. If that turns into reality, chances of any play are minimal, particularly with the rain that has fallen in the south-west over the past few days. If the teams do get on the field, the seam bowlers will probably find things to their liking.

Team News

Sri Lanka

Nuwan Pradeep dislocated a finger in training on Sunday and will miss the match as he recovers. In the absence of another fast-bowler in the squad, he could be replaced either by Avishka Fernandoby to lengthen the batting order or by spin bowling all-rounder Jeevan Mendis, who played against New Zealand. Kusal Perera, who scored 78 opening against Afghanistan after batting at three against New Zealand, is expected to do the same again.

Possible XI: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga

Bangladesh

Bangladesh could replace Mohammad Mithun with Liton Das in the middle order. In addition to that, they can include seamer Rubel Hossain in place of Mohammad Saifuddin. Hossain averages just 13 with the ball against Sri Lanka since the last World Cup and Saifuddin conceded 78 runs from nine overs against England although he has picked up six wickets in the three games to date.

Possible XI: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mehidy Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman.

Did you know

  • Bangladesh have won the only ODI they have played in Bristol while Sri Lanka have no wins in three attempts here

  • Post 2015 World Cup, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have a 3-3 head-to-head, with one no-result

  • Mashrafe Mortaza’s bowling figures in the last five ODIs read: 35-0-224-1

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