Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup 2023, 2nd Match, Group B: Match Previews

Under Pressure: Sri Lanka’s Weakened Bowling in Naagin Derby

The upcoming clash between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is set to unfold under intense pressure, particularly for the Sri Lankan side grappling with significant challenges.

Both teams are entering the contest with key players missing from their lineup. This scenario will serve as a litmus test for their bench strength, as the Group B match commences in Pallekele.

Big Picture – Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Navigate Player Absences

To be upfront, Sri Lanka finds itself in a precarious state. While their performance hasn’t been consistently exceptional for some time now, it’s important to note that they are the reigning Asia Cup champions. Additionally, they recently achieved a clean sweep in the World Cup Qualifier, just a few months back. On a technical level, this is still the same team. Technically.

However, the team’s bowling unit has been severely hit by injuries. Currently, the list of unavailable players includes Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, Dilshan Madushanka, and Wanindu Hasaranga. To put this into perspective, these players comprise the trio of primary seamers, all capable of delivering speeds around 145kph, and the star leg-spinner who recently showcased a dominant all-round performance in the Lanka Premier League.

As Sri Lanka faces off against Bangladesh, their diminished bowling strength underlines the magnitude of the challenge they’re confronting. This match will undoubtedly test their ability to adapt and compete in the face of adversity.

Sri Lanka can still turn to the talented Maheesh Theekshana for support. While their substitute seamers might not match the pace of the aforementioned injured players, they can still be counted upon to deliver. However, the challenge arises from the fact that Sri Lanka now heavily relies on their batting line-up to secure victories. This dependency has proved troublesome, particularly during the recent World Cup Qualifier.

On the Bangladesh side, Litton Das’ absence due to injury is a setback as the tournament nears its commencement. Additionally, off-field turmoil unfolded with the Tamim Iqbal captaincy saga, creating some uncertainties. Despite a hard-fought home-series loss to Afghanistan, Bangladesh has been a formidable force in ODIs recently.

Their team composition strikes a balance between youthful vigor and seasoned experience in recent outings. The playing conditions in Pallekele are poised to favor their spin bowlers. Thus, while Sri Lanka holds the home advantage, the forthcoming installment of the Naagin Derby (for those unfamiliar, a quick search will suffice) might tip the scale slightly in favor of Bangladesh.

Form guide

Sri Lanka WWWWW (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)
Bangladesh WLLWW

Under the Spotlight

At the age of just 25, Mehidy Hasan Miraz might appear to have been a cricket fixture for ages, and in a way, he has been, debuting in 2016. Initially known for his straightforward yet impactful offspin, his recent accomplishments with the bat have truly solidified his presence. Evolving into a bona fide all-rounder who contributes from the lower order, Mehidy brings a remarkable equilibrium to his team. His game-changing century against India in December showcased his ability to be a genuine match-winner.

On the other hand, Kusal Mendis faced challenges in the Lanka Premier League (LPL), and his performances in the World Cup Qualifier didn’t exactly set the cricketing world on fire. Nevertheless, the past couple of years, on the whole, have been fruitful for the now 28-year-old. His performance in T20Is stands out, demonstrating a more daring approach while opening the innings. In ODIs, he typically lays the foundation early on before shifting to a more aggressive stance. As a result, nearly every impressive Sri Lankan ODI batting display of late has coincided with Mendis being in form. Given the second-string bowling resources at their disposal, Mendis will undoubtedly be a linchpin for any success Sri Lanka aims to achieve.

Team Updates

Kusal Perera is a potential contender for a spot in the starting lineup, having recovered from a bout of Covid-19. However, it’s worth noting that he hasn’t played an ODI in over two years. In the absence of Hasaranga, Dushan Hemantha remains the sole leg-spinning option. Nevertheless, Dunith Wellalage’s batting prowess might earn him a chance instead.

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

With the replacement of Litton Das by Anamul Haque, there’s a slight possibility that Tanzid Hasan could step in for Litton and make his ODI debut. A knee concern might keep Mustafizur Rahman out.

Projected Bangladesh XI: 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Tanzid Hasan/Anamul Haque, 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 5 Towhid Hridoy, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Afif Hossain, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Taskin Ahmed, 10 Hasan Mahmud, 11 Shoriful Islam

Pitch and Conditions

Throughout the Lanka Premier League (LPL), most pitches, including Pallekele, displayed a somewhat uneven nature, favoring bowlers who could vary their pace effectively. However, under certain conditions, batting did become relatively smoother, particularly under the floodlights. As for the weather, it is expected to be hot and humid, with a possibility of rain.

Stats and Trivia

Bangladesh’s history in Pallekele includes just one ODI, played against Sri Lanka in 2013, which they emerged victorious from.

Sri Lanka boasts the second-highest win percentage against Bangladesh in ODI cricket, standing at 81.63%. Only Pakistan has a higher percentage (86.48%). However, Sri Lanka has faced challenges in recent encounters, losing four out of their last ten games against Bangladesh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *