• Saturday, Nov 17, 2018
  • Last Update : 11:50 pm

Bangladesh, Sri Lanka kickstart Asia Cup 2018

  • Published at 10:31 pm September 14th, 2018
Asia cup
Captains of the participating teams at the Asia Cup pose for photographs alongside the trophy in the UAE Friday AFP

Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza and Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews have left the incidents in the past and have echoed similar sentiment of looking forward to the days ahead

The growing cricket rivalry between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is expected to give the Asia Cup an exciting start. 

The two sides will face off in the tournament opener at Dubai International Cricket Stadium Saturday.

The rivalry sparked off when coach Chandika Hathurusingha left the Tigers’ post and joined his home team Sri Lanka last year. 

Since then, the two sides have met in a tri-nation ODI series, followed by Bangladesh's home series. 

And on every occasion, Sri Lanka found themselves on the winning end and Hathurusingha was credited for the Lankan success against the Tigers. 

And the last time the two nations met, in the Nidahas Trophy, the tension and the competition went rocket high.

There was an instance of a match being interrupted with players from both sides getting involved in arguments.

Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza and Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews have left the incidents in the past and have echoed similar sentiment of looking forward to the days ahead. 

But deep down inside, one can tell that the players of both the teams will be excited.

Bangladesh have come into the tournament in the best shape and squad possible. 

There were injury worries circling around opener Tamim Iqbal and all-rounder Shakib al Hasan but those have been ruled out. 

According to team sources, both the key members of the team are on their toes to get the side off to a winning start.

A positive result in Bangladesh's favour will depend on the five pillars in the shape of Mashrafe, Tamim, Shakib, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah. 

But as has been said over and over again, the Tigers will need the other members of the side to contribute as only a team effort can enable Bangladesh to meet their ambition of registering a winning start to the six-nation tournament, and playing the final later on September 28.

The infamous Middle Eastern heat is going to stand in the way as a potential troubling point for both the teams. 

Cricket is being played from a long time in this part of the world but never during this time of the year, where the temperature is touching 42 Degree Celsius. 

This particular fact is going to play a mental role on both the sides, thus making the toss vital. 

The team winning the toss might look to bat first due to the conditions, and also the wickets at DICS that tend to help the spinners as the match progresses.

Bangladesh till date have played 42 ODIs against Sri Lanka with the Islanders comprehensively leading the head-to-head count 36-6. 

However, following drastic improvement made by Bangladesh in 50-over cricket, the game lies at a balance. 

On top of that, there is also the fact of Bangladesh coming into the tournament with confidence gained from winning the ODI and T20I series’ in the tour of the Caribbean last month.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka have been dealing with one injury blow after another. 

The Islanders had come to Dubai without Dinesh Chandimal due to injury and spinner Akila Dananjaya owing to family reason. 

And with just two days left to the opening game of the tournament, the side saw opener Danushka Gunathilaka get ruled out due to back injury picked up during a practice session.

Sri Lanka are coming off a 3-2 series defeat against South Africa. 

But they will take confidence from their fabulous record against the Tigers, which gives them an edge over the opposition.