Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Sri Lanka, Bangladesh out to maximise conditions familiarity. Can Sri Lanka make a bright start to their life in the Super 12?
Can Sri Lanka make a bright start to their life in the Super 12?
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are two teams you would've expected to see among those competing for the T20 WC 2021 silverware. Both, however, had to earn their spot to be in the Super 12. In six editions of the tournament, Sri Lanka have been two-time runners'-up, reached one semifinal and even have one trophy in their cabinet. Bangladesh, meanwhile, are yet to cross the Group stages. A good start in a rather challenging group is imperative and the first game of double-header Sunday starts with two teams best-suited for the conditions on offer.
Relative to Test and ODI cricket, it was the T20 nuance that Sri Lanka needed to pay the most attention to in the last few years. Three wins in their last 20 T20Is coming into the T20 WC is a reflection of how much catching-up they had to do. Yet, they became the first team among those battling it out in the Group stages to seal their spot in the Super 12s. Bangladesh, on the other hand, have had quite a bit of solidity with 11 wins in 19 T20Is this year – one win less than what they managed in the four years between 2017 and 2020. Most of it on the back of their quality bowling arsenal led by Mustafizur Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahedi Hasan.
In the three Round 1 games so far, Bangladesh went down to Scotland but came back strong against Oman and PNG to advance with Shakib at the forefront. He's already scored 108 runs and picked 9 wickets in the three games. As contrasting as both teams' results coming into the tournament have been, a similarity in their woes bridges the gap between the sides.
Both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have had top-order issues and have relied far too heavily on their quality bowling attacks. Bangladesh are the slowest scoring side in the Powerplay overs since July 2019 until the start of this tournament. In the three games in Round 1, they had scores of 25/2, 29/2 and 45/1 in the first six, with a run-rate of 5.50. While Sri Lanka in the same stage had their top three average 15.87 and since 2019, their top three have the lowest average and strike-rate among the full member sides. Their bowlers, however, picked all the 30 wickets on offer from just 48 overs conceding only 241 runs in the Group stage.
Sri Lanka have the experience of head coach Mickey Arthur and batting coach Grant Flower, who have spent more than enough time in the UAE during their time with Pakistan. Mahela Jayawardene brought along his twopence worth from the IPL, and had an immediate impact having engineered Avishka Fernando's move to No. 4 and Wanindu Hasaranga's promotion to No. 5 in the win against Ireland.
Bangladesh's head coach Russell Domingo drew a parallel between Sharjah's wickets and the ones in Dhaka which could assist Bangladesh. But they're coming from three games in Oman, while Sri Lanka bowled Netherlands out for 44 in 10 overs in their last game at Sharjah.
When: Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, Super 12 Group 1, Sunday, October 24; 14:00 Local, 15:30 IST
Where: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
What to expect: The wickets were on the slower side in the IPL, and in the Round 1 of the World Cup too. In the four games played, 126 was the highest total scored by Namibia. In the IPL, 7 of the 10 games in that second leg were won by teams batting second and just three batting first. However, a day games takes the dew factor out of the equation, bringing in the spinners.
T20I Head-to-Head: Sri Lanka 7 – 4 Bangladesh (1-0 in T20 WCs)
Injury/Availability Concerns: Maheesh Theekshana picked up a side injury in Sri Lanka's last Group game. He will be taken for an MRI scan on the eve of the game and is likely to miss out. Theekshana took 2 for 3 in his only over against Netherlands before leaving the field. Bowler Binura Fernando is still recovering from an injury and a decision on his availability will be taken in due time.
Tactics & Matchups: Sri Lanka were rewarded for extra pace in their Group stages. It'll be something they look to milk against Bangladesh's top order that is in the middle of a lean patch. It's the middle order players in Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim who Sri Lanka will want to reign in having done well against them; both average above 34 and strike above 145. That's perhaps where the extra pace of Lahiru and Dushmanth Chameera will be seen.
Probable XI: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera (wk), Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana/Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Kumara
Injury/Availability Concerns: Bangladesh don't have too much worry on that front.
Tactics & Matchups: Shakib will play an important role against an already-struggling Sri Lankan top order. Kusal Perera, who has more often than not been a thorn in the flesh of Bangladesh, averages only 18 against Shakib, which could see him bowl in the powerplay like he has in the last two games. Perera has only one single-digit score in seven innings against Bangladesh with as many as five half-centuries. Shakib also has been successful in tying down Chandimal and Shanaka. The head coach also confirmed there wouldn't be a change at the top in the batting order.
Probable XI: Mohammad Naim, Liton Das, Mahedi Hasan, Shakib Al Hasan, Nurul Hasan (wk), Afif Hossain, Mahmudullah (c), Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Saifuddin, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman
Did You Know:
– After a period between 2017 and 2019 where Mustafizur had injury and form issues, he's is back to his best. He is the second-highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket in 2021 with 55 wickets.
– In 2021, Mustafizur has returned 24 wickets in 14 T20Is, averaging 13.70 and conceding at only 6.40 an over.
– Since July 2019, Sri Lanka's top-order has struggled to the extent of being the only side to average below 19 and strike at under 110.
What They Said:
“There's always room for improvement in every department. We know we haven't clicked with the bat yet; we know there's a lot of improvement that can take place there at the start, in the middle and the death. So we're looking for a general all-round improvement with the batting. But we're happy with the way it's gone with the ball. We've been pretty good in the field. Obviously, we need to see the conditions tomorrow because they're different from those in Oman. That's going to be a challenge for us.” – Russell Domingo.
“I opted to bat yesterday because we all needed to have a close look at the wickets. Now we have a good idea as to how the wicket will behave so now we know what it is. It was a great bowling display by our bowlers. If we get a chance to bat first, we know the wickets and conditions and can play accordingly.” – Dasun Shanaka.