Host Bangladesh are ready to face the challenge of visiting side Sri Lanka in their tri-nation ODI series encounter at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Friday.
The Tigers produced a clinical performance against Zimbabwe in their first match but this time around, the opponent will be much more stronger and better in terms of being familiar with the wicket and condition.
The game has been added with extra spice as former Bangladesh head coach, Chandika Hathurusingha resigned abruptly from his Tigers’ job a few months ago before taking over the responsibility of his native Sri Lanka team.
So questions have been asked among fans and media if Hathurusingha and Co would get extra advantage while facing Bangladesh as Hathurusingha worked with these group of players for around three and a half years before resigning.
But Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza believes it’s all about executing their plans on the field, as opposed to Hathurusingha’s knowhow of the Tigers.
“It does not matter to us that Hathurusingha is in the opposite camp. We know we have to play well to achieve a win. There is no chance of thinking other things. Everyone is concentrating on their game. We had a good game against Zimbabwe. Now we want to repeat it,” Mashrafe said to the media during the pre-match press conference Thursday.
“This is not the first time a team are facing their ex-coach in international cricket. Such kind of incidents happened quite a few times before. We have already overcome the phase. When Hathurusingha left, we forgot his planning. And now we have move forward to the next level. We are working with our current coaching staff to take the team to the next phase. So there is no chance of thinking about Hathurusingha’s advantage,” Mashrafe added.
Sri Lanka have Thilan Samaraweera as their batting coach. He also worked as the batting consultant for Bangladesh for 18 months recently. Samaraweera is also of the opinion that Hathurusingha or his inclusion in the Sri Lanka set-up will not have that big a bearing on the game.
“I am very excited to come back to Mirpur after 18 months. Looking forward to the challenge about facing Bangladesh. I don’t think there is any advantage because in world cricket I do not thing there are any secrets now. Players are playing franchise cricket and share dressing-room. I do not think Bangladesh are playing against Hathurusingha, they are playing against Sri Lanka team. I do not think those things will matter,” said Samaraweera Thursday.
The Lankans are under pressure as they lost their first match against Zimbabwe. They are also facing slight injury concerns with their captain Angelo Mathews as he felt a niggle in their last game against Zimbabwe.
“At the moment he is under observation for 24 hours and we will take a decision if he will play or not [Friday]. I think he had hurt his hamstring; we are not sure if it’s hamstring or cramping. Waiting for the specialists’ verdict,” Samaraweera added.
Sri Lanka have quite a few left-handers in their batting line-up. Taking that into consideration, Bangladesh might include off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz or a pace bowling all-rounder in the playing XI instead of left-arm spinner Sanjamul Islam. According to a team source, the final decision will be taken before the match, which begins at 12pm.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The left-handed opener played a superb innings of 80 runs off 83 balls at the top-order for Sri Lanka, which in the end however, was not enough. But his good form and clean hitting can cause problems for Bangladesh. Kusal has scored 250 runs in seven innings against Bangladesh at an average of 41.66 and a strike rate of 91.24. Kusal also plays spin pretty well and is very strong square of the wicket against pace bowling. So Bangladesh need to remove him early Friday.
The all-rounder is a destructive batsman and in the last match, single-handedly guided Sri Lanka home in the late stage. In the end, Sri Lanka fell 12 short but Thisara showed his capability. Also, the all-rounder has improved his bowling in recent months. So his right-arm pace bowling could be very handy for Sri Lanka as well. The in-form all-rounder played for Rangpur Riders in BPL 5 and won two close games for his team, one with the ball and the other with the bat.
Shakib al Hasan
Shakib, man of the match in the first ODI against Zimbabwe, played a significant role yet again, producing a clinical performance. Shakib’s double strike in the first over set the tone for Zimbabwe’s low score. Although Sri Lanka have plenty of left-handers in their batting line-up, Shakib’s bowling will be crucial for the Tigers. Shakib is batting at No 3 position for Bangladesh at the moment, which is another vital role for him.
Mustafizur’s performance in the first ODI showed glimpses of his talent as to how he can handle a relatively slow pitch with his variation and slower deliveries. The series is a comeback for Mustafizur as he was ruled out injured against South Africa in the previous series. After that, he was almost our for two months from competitive matches. According to the team management, Mustafizur is working really hard to get back his rhythm and the second match, in fact the whole tournament, will be crucial for him.
ODIs played - 41
Bangladesh wins - 5
Sri Lanka wins - 34
No results - 2
Win % - Bangladesh (12.82), Sri Lanka (87.17)
Most runs - Mohammad Ashraful (Bangladesh, 573), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka, 1206)
Highest score - Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh, 127), Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka, 161*)
Most wickets - Mashrafe bin Mortaza (Bangladesh, 21), Muttiah Muralidaran (Sri Lanka, 31)
Best bowling - Abdur Razzak (Bangladesh 5/62), Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka, 6/25)