Tri-series: Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Sri Lanka will look for another strong performance when they take on Bangladesh on Saturday in tri-series action. 

The tournament hosts and only unbeaten team of the T20I tri-series, so far, take on a Tigers outfit determined to bounce back from defeat at the hands of India earlier this week.

Sri Lanka need to rekindle the successful components that brought them triumph over Rohit Sharma and company in the series opener, while the Tigers require a substantially stronger all-around performance.

 Sri Lanka v Bangladesh | Saturday, 10 March | R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo | 15:30

To Win Match
Sri Lanka 52/100
Tie 35/1
Bangladesh 31/20 

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Sri Lanka
There was so much good that came out of Sri Lanka's win over India in the series opener, including the top-order dominance of Kusal Perera and late-order finishing of Thisara Perera. Regardless, at least one other batsman has to weigh in with something more than 30 - and allow his team-mates to bat around him - if the hosts are going to reach totals greater than 180.

There is no real reason for them to change their XI, but they must squeeze an extra over each out of Jeevan Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka. The leg-spinner and off-spinner were far more effective than the seamers recently and, in tandem, should pose a genuine threat to an opposition order often perturbed by variation.

Saturday's venue has not been good to the Sri Lankans in the shortest format of the international game, as just two ins in 10 attempts will attest. The last time they played Bangladesh here in T20I cricket, in 2017, they lost. A severe inability to successfully combat fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman, then, was evident - and will be a key concern this time, too.

Bangladesh will have learnt from some of their faults in Thursday's match. A spirited bunch, they will chase swift redemption. The home side, therefore, need to be particularly wary against the wounded Tigers. We've seen it in ODI cricket and the same could take place in T20Is, where one defeat brings a string of others. They simply must keep the momentum.

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Bangladesh
Bangladesh will know they folded far too easily against India, who needed a much stronger test. That's the thing with Bangladesh, who blow very hot or rather cold - there's never really a happy medium with them. They'll require at least this against Sri Lanka, who will capitalise quickly against any sign of prolonged under-performance.

Rahman and Rubel Hossain were excellent against the Indians, extracting plenty of bounce from a pitch that proved relatively low. The former's additional pace and the latter's awkward, slingy action could catch some of the Sri Lankan batsmen off guard. Among their biggest challenge, will be to ensure Dinesh Chandimal and Upul Tharanga don't come good.

Without the captaincy but still a leader of men, Mushfiqur Rahim will expect a lot of himself. While Shakib Al Hasan is sidelined by injury, Rahim's role with the bat becomes all the more important. He can't have the Sri Lankan spinners get under his skin - and must practise patience during the key junctures.

Skipper Mohammad Mahmudullah will do well to opt to bowl first if triumphant at the toss. The R Premadasa Stadium is traditionally pretty good for chasing, particularly if a total of around 160 is the target. Mahmudullah will have to depend on a solid pursuit, though, which his team have struggled to deliver lately.

Verdict: Sri Lanka 52/100
The home side will remain the only unbeaten team of the series - and effectively put one foot in the final, as well as all but remove Bangladesh from contention for the other berth in the final.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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