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Bangladesh will have a tough task on its hand as it prepares to take on a confident Sri Lankan side. Not only did Sri Lanka beat India in its first match, but it has also tasted a lot of success against Bangladesh in recent times. For Bangladesh, the realization that something must change in their T20 game finally seems to be dawning. Can they find a way to get one over the hosts or is this tri-series going to become a two horse race very soon?
The last few months have been very kind to Sri Lanka cricket. They have had sustained success against Bangladesh and carried that confidence to beat a second string Indian side as well. Now, the question will be if they can keep that success going and continue to win matches?
Their first match against Bangladesh should not be giving them too many nightmares. Sri Lanka has a tactical advantage Bangladesh now that Hathurusingha has come over to their side. They also have the confidence of having beaten Bangladesh 2-0 in a T20 series.
We like the way this Sri Lankan team is playing at the moment. Kusal Perera was belligerent in the last match against India and the same can be expected of him in this match. It is Kusal Mendis, however, who we really fancy in this match. Mendis has been scoring runs since being promoted to the top of the order and fancies the Bangladeshi bowling.
Batting with freedom allows him to showcase his full range of strokes and we have little doubt that he will force his way to the top of the order in the ODI setup as well.
Sri Lanka has plenty of batting to back this pair up as well. Gunathilaka, Tharanga, Chandimal, Thisara, and Shanaka are all excellent players that can hit a long ball. It has also been very pleasing to see Sri Lanka be very flexible with their batting lineup.
Players are now being sent in to bat according to the match situation and the overs remaining which is an excellent departure from the past.
The Sri Lankan bowling, however, continues to look very weak. Chameera, Fernando, Mendis, and Danajaya are the leading bowlers. All four of them went for plenty of runs against India and struggled to pick wickets. It was actually the part-timers that did the job in that game.
Against Bangladesh, we expect Sri Lanka to use Suranga Lakmal in place of one of the seamers. We are also sure of seeing a short ball barrage which will prevent the Bangladeshi batsmen from coming on the front foot.
Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis , Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, WU Tharanga, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, BMAJ Mendis, Akila Dananjaya, PVD Chameera, N Pradeep.
13 losses in their last 14 T20 Internationals. Five losses on the trot. Things are dire for the Bangladesh T20 team and they must do something different.
We really think that Bangladesh needs to rethink its T20 cricket completely but that is a story for another time. In the middle of this T20 tri-series, Bangladesh cannot do anything too drastic but can hope to improve enough to win a few matches.
The problem for Bangladesh, as singled out by their own captain in the last match, was facing too many dot balls. Bangladesh scored as many boundaries as India but faced way too many dot balls and lost the momentum at crucial times.
As a result, they could never get the total they needed.
Bangladesh must bat better against Sri Lanka. The bowling that they will face is familiar to them and they must attack from the word go. Tamim Iqbal has been disappointing and is due for a big inning for quite some time now. Soumya Sarkar is perhaps the most prolific T20 batsman that Bangladesh has right now.
We would also like to see Mahmudullah and Sabbir Rahman being promoted up the order ahead of Mushfiqur Rahman. Liton Das also played a handy inning of thirty but his strike rate was nowhere what is expected of modern batsman right now.
Bangladesh must remember that they have beaten Sri Lanka plenty of times in the T20 format. They must believe in their own ability and come out with nothing to lose.
We firmly believe that if they can get their batting right then they will be a formidable opponent because their bowling is pretty good. Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, and Mehedy Hasan are all excellent bowlers.
Perhaps, Mustafizur and Hasan are a class apart than the others and are the most likely to bring down a strong Sri Lankan batting unit.
Bangladesh has been trying the same thing over and over again for the last few months and expecting different results. Sri Lanka will know exactly what the tricks are up its sleeve and it is time for Bangladesh to change that up.
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Nazmul Islam.
The pitch has been excellent for batting up until now, although, it will get slower as the games keep piling on. For the time being, we are sure of seeing another good batting wicket with a decent amount of carry. Some rain has been forecast for match day but the expectation is it will ease up by the time the match gets underway.
Sri Lanka has a 3-2 advantage over Bangladesh in the last 5 matches they have played against each other. They also have the home advantage and are in the middle of a resurgence. The outlook looks bleak for Bangladesh at the moment.