As Sri Lanka seeks a historic victory, inconsistent Bangladesh looks for continuity

Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh Match Preview

Sri Lanka is just one victory away from ODI greatness. They would surpass Bangladesh as the team with the second-longest winning streak in the format if they defeat Bangladesh in their Asia Cup Super-Four game on Saturday. 

Sri Lanka are now equal with Pakistan (12 victories in 2007-08) and South Africa (12 wins in 2005, and again in 2016-17), the only teams with longer winning streaks being the Australians of 2003 (21), and South Africa.

As is inevitable in such circumstances, Sri Lanka has encountered difficulties in the struggle. In addition, Sri Lanka were more cognizant of the game circumstances and the playing conditions, and it proved to be the game-winning factor despite all the hoopla about Afghanistan’s heroic effort in their group-stage match.

With regard to Bangladesh, this awareness occasionally disappears. Following a lackluster performance early in the campaign, they were outplayed by Sri Lanka. They recovered so well to defeat Afghanistan that they were able to advance to the Super Four stage without having to worry about their net run rate. However, on Wednesday, Pakistan completely outperformed them.

Additionally, Shakib Al Hasan described the batting as “hot and cold”. The same may be said for ignorance. After Bangladesh’s batting collapsed to 47 for 4, Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim rebuilt it, however they were both struck by bad shots. Bangladesh should be concerned as well because of how quickly their lower order collapsed—and not for the first time.

At the time, Sri Lanka was not concerned about these things. With 514 runs at an average of 51.40, Dimuth Karunaratne is having his finest ODI year yet, but what has really benefited the squad is his potent opening partnership with Pathum Nissanka. Since June, they have combined for 812 runs over 11 innings.

Bangladesh could use a hot day; they’ve already got one, but there have also been two frigid ones. A big advantage will come from being the team to stop Sri Lanka’s streak.

In the current Asia Cup, Bangladesh is the side that has lost the most wickets (15) to pace. While Shakib and his team have been unable to handle pace, their batsmen have handled spin fairly effectively. 

In this event, Bangladesh had a better average against spin than fast bowling—54.7 to 24.2. Even if they’ve been more active against pace than spin (5.7 vs. 4.8), that still doesn’t make up for that average.

They were completely demolished by Matheesha Pathirana’s four-wicket haul in their opening Asia Cup game. 

Following that, Bangladesh’s batsmen against Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah on Wednesday against Pakistan appeared to have no idea what they were doing, allowing them to each take seven wickets. The only batsman from Bangladesh with an average against pace of more than 30 this year is Mushfiqur Rahim, who has 47.2 runs per game.

Their first alliance has been another issue for Bangladesh. Bangladesh openers had the worst average (23.9) of the top 10 ODI teams this year. In their last 19 innings of ODIs, they have only had two opening stands of 50 or more. 

Since 2021, Bangladesh has been concerned about this. The most for a side during this time span, they have lost two or more wickets during the powerplay 23 times since 2021.

Bangladesh lost two or more wickets in the powerplay against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which established the pattern for the rest of their innings as they were bowled out for 164 and 193, respectively. 

They have had an average score of 278 while batting first in ODIs since 2021, but they have only lost one or no wickets during the powerplay. As a result, they will need to take care not to give Sri Lanka’s bowlers an early advantage.

The year 2023 is a unique one for Dasun Shanaka. He has an innings average of 7.71 while helping Sri Lanka to 12 straight victories. Even though he bats lower in the order, Shanaka’s 169 runs at 33.80 were actually second best in Sri Lanka during that time period, behind Pathum Nissanka, despite the fact that he bats lower in the order.

After posting a subpar average of 23 the previous year, Mushfiqur Rahim has recovered well in 2023. According to reports, he nearly lost his position on the team, but a switch to No. 6 has helped, as he has assumed the finisher’s role. In his last 10 innings, Mushfiqur has scored 458 runs on average while setting a record for the fastest ODI century in Bangladesh.

Although Bangladesh may not make any personnel changes, they are likely to rearrange their batting order, starting with Litton Das shifting to open alongside Mohammad Naim. Mehidy Hasan Miraz might be shifted to the eighth spot in order to give the other specialist batters more time and responsibilities.

It is anticipated that Sri Lanka would stick with the starting lineup that defeated Afghanistan in their previous group match. On the bench are Kusal Perera, Dushan Hemantha, Binura Fernando, and Pramod Madushan.

In contrast to Pallekele, the R Premadasa Stadium often has slower and lower pitches. However, in day-night ODIs over the past five years, Premadasa’s 267 average first-innings total has been greater than Pallekele 255. Worryingly, according to the prediction, there is more than a 68% probability of rain throughout the day (as of the time of writing this).

In ODIs during the past five years, Sri Lanka’s fast bowlers have been more effective than their spinners versus Bangladesh, taking 41 wickets at an average of 22.58 as opposed to 26 at 30.50. In the past 12 months, Mehidy is one of three players who have scored 500 runs and taken 40 wickets in different formats. 

One of the additional two is Shakib. Behind Marvan Atapattu, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, and Mahela Jayawardene, Kusal Mendis is now Sri Lanka’s batsman with the fifth-fastest 3000-run milestone in ODIs.

“Where Matheesha releases the ball is very different from others. It’s something that many cricket teams cannot prepare for. That in itself is an advantage because you don’t get to practice against that kind of bowler much. Malinga was very successful, and I think Matheesha has a big future. His cricket knowledge will increase because of him playing in the IPL.”

Chandika Hathurusinghe, the head coach of Bangladesh, on Matheesha Pathirana of Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Litton Das, 3 Afif Hossain, 4 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 5 Towhid Hridoy, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Shamim Hossain, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Taskin Ahmed, 10 Shoriful Islam, 11 Hasan Mahmud

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Dimuth Karunaratne, 3 Kusal Mendis (wk), 4 Sadeera Samarawickrama, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Dhananjaya de Silva, 7 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 8 Dunith Wellalage, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Kasun Rajitha, 11 Matheesha Pathirana