When Bangladesh take on host Sri Lanka in the Nidahas T20I tri-nation series in Colombo's R Premadasa Cricket Stadium Saturday, the affair will be of two contrasting sides. The Tigers without a prominent head coach in the dressing room have struggled in the recent past with a series of defeats at home and they were not able to get rid of the negative momentum, losing the first game of the series against India Thursday at the same venue.
In less than 48 hours, the Tigers are set to take on the Lankans, a side which have been basking in the glory of a series of wins following a dreadful last year.
Bangladesh arrived to the island nation with the hope of recovering their pride after losing nine times in 10 T20Is. However, it seems, no matter what they do, they are not being able to turn the tide.
The Tigers’ defeat against India had come from illogical mindset of the batsmen after they were sent in to bat first. Going into the game with six batters, Bangladesh had failed to hold themselves back, despite fall of regular wickets. And when they did stem the flow of wickets, they failed to follow the basics of the game, which is to rotate the strike in order to ease the pressure. The end result - 55 dot balls in the 120-ball innings, which had 13 extras as wides and no balls.
The defeat once again had come after Bangladesh were not able to put on a combined effort. The bowlers had displayed a decent show and will be expected to do the same when they take on the Lankans. However, for the team to achieve a result, they will need their batsmen to regroup within the handful of time available amid a lot pressure which had come after all the recent lows against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka on the other hand will look to extend their lead in the series having started with a win in the opening game against India. The side are boosted with enough successes which have come recently with Chandika Hathurusingha taking charge of the team as the head coach.
The Lankans have nothing to worry about as far as batting is concerned with top-order batsman Kusal Perera on song and others making enough contributions. With the ball however, the side will expect their specialists in the shape of Akila Dananjaya and Nuwan Preadeep to rise to the occasion.
Players to watch
The former Bangladesh captain made a brilliant start to the tour of Sri Lanka through a picturesque 65 runs off 44 balls in the lone practice match against a Sri Lanka Cricket President’s XI. However, Mushfiq failed to justify his form and confidence in Bangladesh's first game in the Nidahas T20I tri-nation series against India. The right-handed batsman played along with the team's intention of attacking the opposition bowlers, as a result, gifting his wicket after a wild swing of the bat. He had just hit a six in the previous delivery. For Bangladesh to keep their hope alive, Mushfiq will have to play his role right when they take on host Sri Lanka Saturday.
Bangladesh are undoubtedly Thisara's favourite opposition when it comes to the shortest format of the game. And the stats and his long history of playing in Bangladesh justify that. The left-handed batsman has batted in 60 innings for Sri Lanka, scoring the most amount of runs - 181 - in eight innings against Bangladesh. Also, with his right-arm pace, he has been decent against the Tigers, picking up six wickets in as many innings. As Sri Lanka target extending their lead in the points table, Thisara will be expected to explode once again and boost his side to yet another win.
Head to head
T20Is played - 9
Bangladesh wins - 2
Sri Lanka wins - 7
Bangladesh win % - 22.22
Sri Lanka win % - 77.77
Most runs - Kusal Perera (Sri Lanka, 230), Mahmudullah (Bangladesh, 198)
HS - Kusal (77), Sabbir Rahman (Sri Lanka, 80)
Most wickets - Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka, 11), Shakib al Hasan (Bangladesh, 9)
BBI - Malinga (3/20), Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh, 4/21)