About the Match
The Tests and the ODI’s have failed to separate the Bangladeshi’s and the Sri Lankans so far and so the t20’s gain a lot more importance this time around. Can the Sri Lankans continue their impressive form in this format or will the Bangladeshis prove that they are a well-rounded side once again?
1st t20 Preview
Bangladesh is not the best of t20 sides and has, in fact, lost its last seven matches in the format. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, is coming into this series on the back of series victories against Australia and South Africa away from home. In subcontinental conditions, though, Bangladesh can be a handful as the Lankans found it in the Asia cup played last year.
There is some good news on the injury front for Sri Lanka as Kusal Perera is once again fit and available for selection, although, it remains to be seen if he will be able to make the eleven. Angelo Mathews has still not recovered completely and will not be joining the Sri Lankan team for this series.
For Bangladesh, the biggest advantage is the relatively little change they have from their ODI to t20 side. The experienced players, Shakib Al Hassan, Mashrafe Mortaza and Tamim Iqbal all love this format of the game and have plenty to offer, while younger players like Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah and Mustafizur Rahman all return back to the format where they first found success.
All of these players have been part of teams that have found success against the Sri Lankans in the recent past and that could count for something.
The hosts have just registered a massive win against the Bangladeshis in the last ODI of the series and would be keen to assert their dominance. The return of Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, and Lashkan Sandakan to the side provides some real teeth to the bowling attack while Tharanga, Kapugedara, Kusal Perera and Gunaratne make for a very decent batting lineup as well.
The two teams seem to be evenly matched in batting strength. For Bangladesh Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hassan will always be the most important players in any format of the game but we think that Sabbir Rahman is the one that poses the most threat to the Sri Lankan bowlers. No one has won more man of the matches than Sabbir for Bangladesh in t20’s.
Sabbir has the ability to clear the field and bats at the top of the order when the field restrictions can be taken advantage of. With batting down to number 7 including Mahmudullah and Mossadek Hossain to help end the innings with some power, the Bangladeshis will back themselves to chase down any total or set a big one themselves.
Sri Lanka may decide to play Kusal Perera in place of Gunathilaka but that is far from certain. The dashing opener has the potential to break open the match with his astonishing stroke play and could well be drafted in, however, that would mean tinkering with a successful combination, one that found success all across the world.
For us, the real meat in the Sri Lankan batting is a little too low down in the form of Gunaratne and should possibly be batted a position or two above his usual number 5. He is our pick to be the top scorer in this match.
Home conditions, previous history (Bangladesh has never won a t20 match in Sri Lanka) and form are all against the visitors. They do, however, have the most experienced players on both teams and are playing at the Premadasa where Sri Lanka has only won one out of 11 t20 internationals.
The match should be a close one.
Sri Lanka to wi