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|Shakib Al Hasan||2.0||0||9||1||4.50|
|Shakib Al Hasan||7||9||0||0||77.78|
The Nidahas T20 Tri-Series is going to go down to the wire. The last league match to be played between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is like a semi-final. The team that wins it will progress to the finals and meet India for the trophy. Both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have shown some glimpses of brilliance interspersed with plenty of ordinary moments. Which of these two teams will be able to raise its game at the crucial time?
An excellent win in the opening match of the tournament against India has been followed by two defeats. Sri Lanka managed to lose after scoring 200 runs to Bangladesh and then fell apart against a disciplined Indian attack. Now, faced with a must-win match against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka must try and reprise some of the success they have had against Bangladesh off late.
The template that Sri Lanka wants to follow in T20 cricket is quite clear. Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis have been given the mandate to go hard at the bowlers in the powerplay overs. Both of them have shown an excellent ability to do that job and set up the batsmen to follow. Of course, Kusal Mendis seems to have no problem playing in an aggressive manner regardless of the situation.
These three batsmen will be the ones that will look to take the game away from Bangladesh. All three have had a lot of success against Bangladesh in the last few months and will be confident of getting the job done.
The middle order for Sri Lanka is also very strong. Upul Tharanga, Thisara Perera, and Jeevan Mendis played the last match with Dinesh Chandimal missing out. We think the aggressive approach shown by Sri Lanka is definitely working but they need to be a little careful to not go overboard.
Against India, Sri Lanka kept scoring runs at a good pace but also lost too many wickets in that process. Eventually, they fell far short of what a competitive total was.
Since the bowling attack for Sri Lanka is pretty weak, their batting performance becomes even more important. Akila Danajaya had a good outing in the last match and will want to improve on his performance against Bangladesh last time around. Suranaga Lakmal, Jeevan Mendis, and Thisara Perera will also have a massive role to play in keeping the Bangladeshi batsmen quiet.
Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis , WU Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, BMAJ Mendis, IU Tillakaratna, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, N Pradeep.
The high that Bangladesh experienced in their match against Sri Lanka gave way to a familiar crash against India. The Bangladeshi bowlers were far too expensive in the death overs and their batsmen did not have the power to give the same treatment to the Indians.
Thankfully, they have received a huge boost ahead of their match against Sri Lanka. Shakib Al Hasan, easily the best T20 player that Bangladesh has in its ranks, is going to be available to play. He will provide a boost in the bowling and the batting department, making Bangladesh immediately more dangerous.
We thin Shakib could play in place of Mehidu Hasan Miraz who has not been able to contribute anything definitive with the ball and is batting a little too high at 7. Shakib Al Hasan’s presence in the side means that Mahmudullah will be relieved of the captaincy duties as well.
We think Bangladesh needs to continue its aggressive batting approach that saw them pull off a record chase against Sri Lanka in the last match. Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, and Sabbir Rahman all look far more dangerous when they are playing with freedom.
With Shakib Al Hasan to strengthen the batting, all the batsmen can actually go hell for leather without worrying too much. Mushfiqur Rahim is also in excellent form having scored two fifties on the trot. He is likely to retain his place at number 4 in the order but we really struggle to see him making a place for himself long term in this Bangladesh T20 side.
Bangladesh seems to be getting its batting in order but its bowling remains very weak. The decline of Mustafizur Rahman as a force in T20 cricket must be alarming. He has been taken for plenty of runs in this tournament and is struggling to complete his full quota of overs.
Rubel Hossain has shown good form but is mostly left waging a lone battle. Perhaps Nazmul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, and Abu Hider are the best combination that Bangladesh can come up with at the moment.
A couple of these bowlers will really have to step up against a strong Sri Lankan batting that is going to keep coming hard at them.
Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Nazmul Islam.
Team winning the toss is likely to bat first
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Some amount of rain has been forecast for match day in Colombo. So far, though, the rain has been kind enough not to disrupt the matches too badly and we can hope for that to continue. The pitch slowed up significantly in the last match between Bangladesh and India. If the same surface is going to be used for this match then run scoring will be difficult and we could see the spinners dominate.
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