This is one rivalry where the change of balance is evident. In 37 ODIs before 2016, Sri Lanka led head-to-head against Bangladesh by 33-4. In the next six matches, Bangladesh clawed back to balance out the equation to 3-3. Now when these two Asian teams will confront each other at Bristol today (11 June), the team in green shall start as slight favourites.
Sri Lanka, much like Bangladesh, began as a minnow and gradually built its way up into the ODI circuit. The Lankans shocked the world by lifting the 1996 World Cup and remained a power in limited-overs cricket well until 2015. They entered a transformation phase since and are yet to come out of it. In the current competition, they were pummelled by New Zealand in the first match but bounced back to secure a win against Afghanistan. Their last encounter was washed out due to rain.
While Sri Lanka declined, Bangladesh steadily raised their game in limited-overs cricket. They are not a pushover anymore. The team led by Mashrafe Mortaza is strong competition for any team and can topple any side on its day. South Africa have already learned that lesson in this World Cup. Bangladesh accepted a brave defeat against England in the last match and will hope to bounce back by defeating Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, 16th Match
County Ground, Bristol (03:00 PM)
It’s 3-0 in favour of Sri Lanka and it is not surprising. Over the years, the Sri Lankan team has always emerged stronger against developing sides. Their first two wins against Bangladesh in 2003 and 2007 World Cup were emphatic (10 wickets and 198 runs respectively). Even in 2015, the Lankan lions were too strong for Bangladeshi tigers.
Riding on Shakib Al Hasan’s century, Bangladesh did reply with a fighting total of 280 against England but conceded too many runs with the ball. The lack of wicket-taking bowlers has been their pain point with the left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rehman being their sole hope. They do have an option in Rubel Hossain who has 123 ODI wickets on his name. His inclusion will sharpen Bangladesh’s bowling attack. Lack of runs at the top will also be a concern for Captain Mortaza.
Although Sri Lanka scampered to a 34-run win over Afghanistan, the fact that they collapsed to 201/10 from 144/1 cannot be ignored. Their middle order has not contributed in both the matches. Their most experienced batsman, Angelo Mathews, is yet to score a run despite playing two innings. Seam bowlers have performed well for the Lankans but the loss of Nuwan Pradeep due to an injury will impact them adversely.
Shakib Al Hasan vs Sri Lankan bowlers
The number one all-rounder in the world is in a stunning form. His last three scores read – 121, 64, 75. Against Sri Lanka, he has scored 201 runs in five matches with his highest score being 72.
Thisara Perera vs Mustafizur Rehman
Sri Lanka’s most destructive batsman, Thisara Perera has scored 37 off Mustafizur’s 25 balls with a strike rate of 148 while being dismissed only once. These two are bound to collide in the death overs.
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin/Rubel Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Mustafizur Rahman
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kusal Perera (wk), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis/Milinda Siriwardana, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga