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Sri Lanka has taken a 1-0 lead in the T20 series against hosts Bangladesh by winning the first match by 6 wickets; the two teams will face off in the 2nd T20 match at Sylhet on 18th February. Bangladesh will fight hard to draw level after losing the test and ODI series while the Lankans will be eager to continue with their winning momentum. Both teams have a good mix of experience and young talent, who can give their team the edge to win here on Sunday. Whichever team can overcome the challenges on field with a cool head above their shoulders will have the upper hand to win this crucial match.
Batting first against Sri Lanka in the first T20, Mushfiqur Rahim and Soumya Sarkar posted a 50-run stand to build a good foundation for the team. Mahmudullah scored 43 runs while Mushfiqur Rahim stood strong till the end to take the innings to 193. However, the bowlers couldn’t contain the opponents and lost the match by 6 wickets. Spinner Nazmul Islam took 2-25 while pacer Rubel Hossain and Afif Hossain dismissed one opponent each but the Lankans smashed away sixes and fours easily to win the contest.
They have bowlers like Mustafizur Rahman, Mahmudullah, Mohammad Saifuddin and Rubel Hossain, who could provide regular breakthroughs and help dominate the visitors if they could put up a disciplined attack in the upcoming match. The middle-order batsmen are also doing well, and if they could build strong partnerships whether batting first or during a chase, the hosts can prove to be a formidable force to reckon with.
With the absence of key players like Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh seems to be lost out at sea, but they do have other resources who could help them bounce back here.
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehdi Hasan, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed.
Chasing 194 runs, Kusal Mendis posted 53 runs while Gunathilaka scored 30 off 15 to steer the team towards a solid foundation. Dasun Shanaka, the versatile all-rounder, pitched in with 42 runs while Thisara Perera scored a quick fire 39 off 18 to take the team to a 6-wicket win. Their batting performance has improved since the beginning of the tour, and they could pose a stiff challenge yet again in the upcoming match.
Earlier, the bowlers led by spinner Jeevan Mendis’ 2-21 stifled the hosts and other pacers like Isuru Udana, Perera and spinner Gunathilaka took a wicket each to restrict Bangladesh to 193 runs. The bowlers combined well to contain the opponent’s run-flow but some of them proved to be expensive.
Overall, the Lankans have dominated the hosts in all formats of the game, and their victory in the first match would have boosted their morale to do well in the next match too.
WU Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis , Dinesh Chandimal, BMAJ Mendis, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dananjaya, Shehan Madushanka, IU Tillakaratna, Amila Aponso.
Bangladesh put up a poor show with the ball and had to bear loss in the first match; the hosts will be determined to fight back here. However, with an all-round performance till now Sri Lanka looks better placed to challenge the hosts and emerge victorious on Sunday.
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