Two teams who are equally desperate for a win in the 2019 ICC World Cup will meet on Tuesday at Bristol when Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh.
The two subcontinent sides have one win apiece from three outings so far and both need to get a move on soon if they are to make a case for semi-final qualification.
While Bangladesh have largely been the better side of the two so far in the tournament, it is Sri Lanka who are better placed in the table owing to their washed-out game against Pakistan recently. The islanders had earlier been thrashed by the Kiwis before bouncing back with a win against Afghanistan.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, were comprehensively beaten by hosts England in their most recent outing but played some excellent cricket to beat South Africa earlier before running New Zealand close in narrow loss.
History, however, is on Sri Lanka’s side for Tuesday’s clash with the islanders having emerged victorious in all three previous World Cup meetings with Bangladesh.
RESURGENT SHAKIB LEADING BANGLADESH CHARGE
Bangladesh’s strong showing in the tournament so far has been largely down to Shakib Al Hasan. The No1 ranked ODI all-rounder has been the standout player of the World Cup so far with two fifties and one century in three outings.
The southpaw has also contributed three wickets with his left-arm spin and seems to have put behind his finger injury troubles for now. Having Shakib bat at number three has worked a treat for the Tigers with the 32-year-old continuing the good form he showed in the Ireland ODI tri-series win.
Stopping him early in his tracks will be key for Sri Lanka if they are to come out on top.
LANKA SUFFER PRADEEP BLOW
Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign started on a disastrous note with Dimuth Karunaratne’s men getting bowled out for just 136 runs in their 10-wicket loss to New Zealand. They were in danger of falling to defeat against Afghanistan as well after scoring just 201 with the bat but an inspired bowling display led by Nuwan Pradeep averted an embarrassing loss.
Pradeep picked up a career-best four-wicket haul in the win but the pacer has now been ruled out of Tuesday’s clash with a dislocated finger. The pacer’s absence will be a big blow for a Sri Lanka side still looking short of confidence and they will need their veteran campaigners such as Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews to lead from the front if they are to go deep in the tournament.
WEATHER THREAT ALIVE
The 2019 World Cup has already seen rain play spoilsport in Sri Lanka’s fixture against Pakistan and there is a chance it could make an appearance at Bristol on Tuesday as well.
Heavy rain has been forecast for the early morning with intermittent showers expected throughout the day. That could see a delayed start at Bristol or another washed-out affair.
At this stage of the competition, sharing one point apiece will do no favours to either side if they are to make a run to the semi-finals. The game could very much be a stop-start affair.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Mustafizur Rahman.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kusal Perera (wk), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjay de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga.
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