Bangladesh are a strong team at home, and can defeat any team on their day. However, they have not played the quality of cricket they are known for at home in the ongoing Asia Cup. Bangladesh need to up their game Sunday as they prepare to face Sri Lanka at Shere Bangla National Stadium.
The home team might heave a sigh of relief as Sri Lanka, like Bangladesh, have not played great cricket in the tournament either. The Lankan Lions had to give it their all against the UAE in their opening game to emerge triumphant. Sri Lanka defeated the UAE by 14 runs.
With both teams eager to come up with some good cricket in Mirpur, one can expect a quality game.
Bangladesh lost against India in their opening game and the shoulders of some players dropped after that, but things changed for the hosts as they defeated the UAE quite comprehensively. Bangladesh defeated the UAE by 51 runs, with contributions from Mohammad Mithun, Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah on the batting front while all their bowlers performed well.
"Our confidence was slightly shaken after losing the first game, but the win over the UAE will certainly help us get that back. In fact, it will help that we beat them convincingly, especially ahead of the next game against Sri Lanka," ESPN Cricinfo quoted batsman Sabbir Rahman as saying.
Bangladesh have a decent mix of batsmen and bowlers in their team to outshine Sri Lanka, but they need all their top-order to deliver against the Lankan Lions. One of the major concerns for Bangladesh has been the form of Shakib-Al-Hasan, who has just scored just 3 and 13 runs in the competition. Shakib is one of their best players.
However, in the bowling department, Bangladesh have some top players, including Taskin Ahmed and Mashrafe Mortaza as their fast bowlers. With the pitch having assisted seamers in the competition, Bangladesh have other bowlers, such as Mustafizur Rahman, to look to.
These bowlers are going to be tested by Sri Lanka, who have some good batsmen in their line-up, including Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal, and Angelo Mathews.
Gone are the days when Sri Lanka depended on the likes of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Now, they need all their players to contribute significantly for a victory. Though Dilshan might seem to be the biggest threat, his form over the last couple of series has been below par, while Chandimal has been playing some quality cricket of late.
Sri Lanka, as was witnessed against the UAE, are a stronger bowling unit with Lasith Malinga, their key player and captain, leading from the front. The team also possesses Nuwan Kulasekara, who can be more than a handful on a bowler-friendly pitch like in Mirpur. In Rangana Herath, they have a quality spinner as well. However, Malinga has some knee problems and his participation will be confirmed only hours before the match.
Sri Lanka have to play better cricket if they are to challenge Bangladesh at home, and the onus is primarily on their batsmen. Despite Chandimal and Dilshan, none of the batsmen could score runs feely against the UAE.
This game in Mirpur is a huge match for both teams, as the winner will have a major chance of reaching the final, provided they play some good cricket in their last round-robin matches as well.
"In this tournament it's very hard to say which team is the best. But we are always looking to maximise our strengths and our abilities," Malinga said.
Where to watch live
The fifth match of the Asia Cup — Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka — is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. local time (7 p.m. IST, 1:30 p.m. GMT, 8.30 a.m. ET) start.
Sri Lanka viewers can watch the Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka game live on MTV Sports and Star Network. Channel 9 and the Star Network will broadcast the Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka live in Bangladesh.
Viewers in the Middle East and North Africa can watch Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka Asia Cup T20 live on OSN Sports Cricket HD. The live stream option is available on OSN Play.
Pakistan viewers can watch Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka T20 live on Geo Super, PTV and Star; live streaming option on GeoSuper Live.