About the Match
Hosts Bangladesh defeated UAE in the last match by 51 runs to open their points tally; they will now take on Sri Lanka in the upcoming match on 28th February at Dhaka and try to climb up the ladder with a win here. Sri Lanka won their opening match against UAE and stand in the second position with 2 points in the bag; the islanders dominated the associate team and will be eager to do the same against Bangladesh on Sunday.
Batting first against UAE, batsmen Mithun and Mahmudullah tried to build a strong foundation but could muster only 133 runs; however, the bowlers kept their nerves together and took quick wickets to stifle the opposition and win the match by 51 runs. Mustafizur Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah took 2 wickets each and demolished the UAE batting line-up; Taskin Ahmed and Al-Amin Hossain took a wicket each to support the team and get the opponents all-out for just 82 runs by the 18th over.
In the match against India, although the bowlers did well by taking regular wickets, they gave away too many runs and with a target of 167 runs to chase, the batsmen felt the pressure and lost the plot, managing only 121 runs in the end. While the bowling is looking good, the batting seems to be a cause for worry as strong players like Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman and Mushfiqur Rahim have not been consistent in getting the big runs.
They have a good mix of pace and spin with seamers like Mustafizur Rahman, Mortaza and Al-Amin Hossain, providing regular breakthroughs and spinners like Mahmudullah and Shakib pulling out some tricks to outwit the opposition. If the batsmen can get their act together against the Lankan bowlers, they can look ahead to a better outcome on Sunday.
The bowlers did well to defend a low total of 129 runs against UAE to help the team win their opening match of the series; Lasith Malinga made a good comeback with 4-26 and led the side confidently with his experience. Nuwan Kulasekara worked his magic to take 3 scalps giving away only 10 runs to be the most economical of the bowlers; old horse Herath also contributed with 2 wickets to stifle the opponents and win the match by 14 runs in nick of time.
Earlier, the batsmen started the innings well with Chandimal posting a well-made half century and Dilshan scoring 27 runs; the duo contributed with a 68-run opening stand but the others down the line fell like a pack of cards and they could muster only 129 runs in the end. Siriwardana, Shanaka, Mathews and Jayasuriya must focus on building strong partnerships and try to come out all guns blazing here. Sri Lanka does have a little inexperienced middle-order, but they cannot not be taken lightly in any way.
Overall, they have good resources and a mix of experience and youth that will help them overcome challenges yet again; however, they should be cautious against the hosts and put a good strategy in place to outwit the Bangladeshi bowlers, who are in pretty good form at the moment.
It will be tough fight between the islanders and the hosts as the competition gets heated up in the Asia Cup; although Bangladesh has experienced players, they are not in prime form. We feel that Sri Lanka with its battery of spin and pace led by Malinga is better placed to emerge victorious on this super Sunday