About the Match
Bangladesh is going to come into this ODI series full of self-belief after their series equaling victory against Sri Lanka in the last test while the hosts will be desperate to show that a gulf still exists between the two sides.
1st ODI Preview
There is plenty to suggest that this ODI series will be closely fought. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are currently ranked 6th
in the ODI rankings and even though the islanders have a fantastic record against Bangladesh in this format of the game, this is not the Bangladesh team of old.
With 33 wins out of 38 games played between the two, it is safe to say that Sri Lanka will start favorites but fans will also know that the home team has not won an ODI series against any team apart from Zimbabwe, Ireland and West Indies since 2015.
Sri Lanka is also going into this series with a couple of injury concerns, most notably to their skipper Angelo Mathews. In his absence, Upul Tharanga will continue to lead the side. Kusal Perera has also been ruled out due to injury.
Both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are coming off being whitewashed in the last ODI series they played. Sri Lanka lost 5-0 to South Africa while Bangladesh lost 3-0 to New Zealand.
In sub-continental conditions though these two teams are a real handful for any opposition.
The pressure will be on an inexperienced Sri Lankan batting lineup to show that it can perform even in the absence of some of its best players. Dickwella is expected to take the opening slot while Gunaratne will be looked to shore up the middle order after some blistering performances in Australia.
Dinesh Chandimal is the most experienced player of this group but is coming off a South African tour that clearly left some scars. The Sri Lankans have chosen only Lashkan Sandakan as the regular spinner while others like Dhanajaya de Silva, Gunaratne and others will chip in when required.
Thisara Perera also marks a return to the side after some impressive performances in the warm-ups and will provide some real power hitting depth to the lower middle order.
We think that Kusal Mendis, Tharanga, Dickwella and Chandimal will form the backbone of the batting with the others playing cameos. Back Dickwella to be the highest scorer of the match from the Sri Lankan side.
The bowling will be led by Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara on the fast bowling side and Sandakan among the slow bowlers. With his variations and mystery deliveries a plenty, it is Lashkan Sandakan who we think will take the most wickets for Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh has been competitive in the 50 over format of the game for quite a while now. The emergence of players like Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, and Mustafizur Rahman have given it plenty of talent capable of changing the game.
They are also a settled, experienced side with Tamim Iqbal leading the batting, Shakib Al Hassan performing all-rounder duties and Mashrafe Mortaza as the beloved leader. Mushfiqur Rahim is also an experienced and indispensable part of this team.
With Mahmudallah hitting his stride in the warm-up matches, the Bangladeshi’s have a long batting lineup capable of chasing down big totals or setting them while batting first.
We believe this could be a series that Tamim Iqbal leaves his stamp on and back him to the highest scorer for Bangladesh in this match.
Bangladesh has also taken the smart decision of adding Mehedi Hassan to this squad after his impressive bowling performance in the test matches. He and Mustafizur in the same team could cause many a headache for the Sri Lankans.
Mustafizur Rahman is our pick for the highest wicket taker from the Bangladeshi side.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch at Dambulla is expected to be a flat batting paradise with nothing in it for the bowlers. Ironically, this kind of pitch ends up making the bowlers even more important which is where Bangladesh might have an advantage.
We think that this is a perfect opportunity for Bangladesh to win the first match and maybe even the series against a depleted Sri Lanka side.
Back Bangladesh To Win
Winner: Bangladesh, 2.38 @ Bet on Bangladesh now