Tri-Series Final: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We preview the final of the Tri-Series which will see Bangladesh and Sri Lanka go head to head in Mirpur. 

Bangladesh will trust that Thursday's heavy defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka hasn't undone too much of the hard work gathered across an otherwise undefeated round-robin stage.

Sri Lanka will insist that same result was more of a precursor to the final than an empty win in a deadrubber - and have effectively snatched the momentum away from the opposition.

Bangladesh v Sri Lanka | Saturday, 27 January | Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur | 8:00

To Win Match
Bangladesh 67/100 | Tie 35/1 | Sri Lanka 5/4

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Bangladesh
Mashrafe Mortaza has been quick and strict to insist on more from his middle order - and rightly so. If Tamim Iqbal or Shakib Al Hasan - or both - fail, one or more of Mohammad Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman and Nasir Hossain have to step up on Saturday.

The Tigers have managed to deflect an over-reliance on Al Hasan with bat and ball of late, but it was somewhat exposed on Thursday - and 48 hours later - might be found wanting again. Perhaps it's time Abul Hasan prove his worth as a next-generation all-rounder.

Poor shot selection and questionable stroke play were their major downfall in the last round-robin fixture, while a severe inability to slow the opposition openers' attacking intent was evident, too. Both need correction, quickly.

Bangladesh have been in this situation before, where they've put in all the tough graft to reach a tri-series or Asia Cup final, but haven't been able to clear the final hurdle. Fans will hope another choke isn't on the cards.

Regardless, the Tigers - in home conditions - will still be considered the favourites in the final. Sri Lanka will have some of their own mental demons to battle, despite a solid enough recovery from defeat to Zimbabwe.

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Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankans would love to win a final without Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga - and prove that their bench strength is more than capable of succeeding in the absence of important players.

Dinesh Chandimal lauded his team's disciplines in sticking to gameplans recently, but they can't afford to become too predictable - and must be able to adapt if situations and scenarios quickly change.

While Bangladesh have middle order concerns of their own, Sri Lanka will know that their batsmen three through six were not tested in the curtain raiser to the final. Pressure to perform, when it counts most, is on Kusal Mendis and company.

For an adequate contest, they will hopefully bowl more than the 24 hours delivered on Thursday - and should therefore require more spin. Left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan will be key again.

The 12 innings in the tournament so far have yielded only three scores of 220 or more. Conditions, clearly, are not conducive to big totals - and Sri Lanka will have to plan accordingly, particularly if combated by Bangladesh's batting belligerence.

Verdict: Bangladesh 67/100
Bangladesh have only beaten Sri Lanka six times in the intermediate format of the international game, but four of those have come in their last 15 attempts - and a fifth beckons.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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