Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh: Preview and Prediction
Sri Lanka’s Super Four campaign in the 2023 Asia Cup starts off with a match against Bangladesh. The defending champions have already beaten Bangladesh in the group stage and have the home advantage, with the match set to be played at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Sri Lanka has been in rampant form so far in the tournament but has a host of injuries to deal with as the likes of Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, Dilshan Madushanka, and Wanindu Hasaranga are all unavailable.
On the other hand, Bangladesh also has its fair share of drama off the field. Najmul Hussain Shanto recently picked up an injury that has led to the re-introduction of Litton Das into the playing XI.
What have they done so far?
Sri Lanka comes into this game off the back of five straight victories. Kusal Mendis is in prime form and played a crucial innings of 92 runs in their narrow 2-run victory over Afghanistan. Still, the Super Four stage is a different beast and the match might prove to be the biggest test for the defending champions in the tournament thus far.
Captain Dasun Shanaka will not be satisfied with his own performance and will be hoping that some of his strike bowlers have a better outing. Kasun Rajitha and Dunith Wellalage were both expensive against the Afghans, although the former picked up 4 wickets.
Bangladesh, on the other hand, have already played their maiden Super Four game. The batters failed to deliver against Pakistan which saw them get bundled out for a total of 193 runs. Riding on half-centuries from Rizwan and Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam’s team chased down the target in less than 40 overs.
Sri Lanka might be tempted to send in the Bangladeshis to bat again if they win the toss. Shakib Al Hasan has already criticized his batters and will be hoping for a much better showing in their second game. Barring that, Bangladesh will be staring at an exit.
Head to Head record
As one would expect, the talented Sri Lankans have found Bangladesh favorable opponents over the years. The two teams have met 52 times in ODI matches with the Lankans coming out on top a whopping 41 times.
The Bangladeshis have won just 9 times, with two games not generating a result. The Tigers will be required to produce a rousing performance in order to maintain relevance in the competition.
Maheesh Theekshana (Sri Lanka): With a number of absentees in the Lankan bowling attack, Maheesh Theekshana will be expected to pick up wickets against Bangladesh. He has the ability to pick up wickets and restrict runs in the powerplay and has a range of variations up his sleeves.
Theekshana picked up two crucial wickets against Bangladesh in the group-stage fixture. He conceded only 18 runs in 8 overs and will be expected to lead the line against the Tigers.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz (Bangladesh): Mehidy Hasan Miraz has emerged as one of the most impressive players in the Asia Cup so far. After delivering with both bat and ball in group-stage fixtures, Hasan was bowled out on the first delivery against Pakistan.
He will be looking to set things straight and deliver alongside his opening partner Mohammad Naim, who was dismissed despite getting a start the last time around. Miraz has only recently been given the opening mantle and could be shifted to the middle order to accommodate Das.
Bangladesh: Mohammad Naim, Litton Das, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Shakib Al Hasan ©, Towhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shamim Hossain, Afif Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Hasan Mahmud.
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka ©, Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana
The defending champions appear the obvious favorites to win the game. They have been in commanding form in ODIs recently and have the home advantage as well. Bangladesh proved easy pickings the last time around and has a bit of a crisis in the batting department.
They have already been defeated once, while the Lankans will view the game as a must-win if they have to qualify.