Sri Lanka and Bangladesh take each other on in what is a virtual semi-final for the two sides after India booked it’s place in the final. Both teams have been dealing with some injuries, and there is good news for each of them. Shakib Al Hasan has been included in the squad after overcoming a persistent injury, whereas Kusal Mendis has also been declared fit for Sri Lanka.
Shakib’s inclusion will give Bangladesh a huge advantage over the Lankans. The all-rounder has been central to his nation’s success in recent times, but can he help them reach the final of the Trophy, or will the home side beat them this time?
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Abu Jayed, Taskin Ahmed, Imrul Kayes, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Abu Hider Rony, Liton Das, Mahmudullah (c), Shakib Al Hasan
Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera
Where the teams stand
The extent of Bangladesh’s dependence on Mushfiqur Rahim was on full display in their match against India. Rahim was virtually the only man persistent as his teammates fell like bowling pins. He ended up scoring almost half the team total in a chase they lost by 17 runs, and this is where Shakib will be most essential. As always, this match will heavily rely on which team can out-bat the other. Shakib’s stability in the middle order will take pressure off Mahmudullah and Rahim, enabling them to perform better. If the opening pair fire, followed by even one of these three, Bangladesh might just have a chance.
Bangladesh’s bowling attack, especially it’s spinners, have been quite ineffective so far. Nazmul Islam and Mehidy Hasan have both been disappointing, and the pacers have not been any better. Rahman was expensive against India, going at an economy of almost ten. Rubel Hossain picked up both of the wickets that fell to bowlers, but the attack overall has been toothless and uninspired. Fortunately for them, the Sri Lankan bowling is in no better state.
After winning the first match against India, Sri Lanka have lost both their last two games. Their bowling let them down against Bangladesh whereas the batting under-performed against India. They have a superior batting lineup to the Bangladeshis, but their bowling is perhaps the worst of all the three nations. The likes of Kusal Mendis, Kusal and Thisara Perera, and Dasun Shanaka are all big-hitters of the ball who have been in good touch recently. The two Kusal’s in particular have wreaked havoc in the last few games. With Tharanga and possibly Dinesh Chandimal also going to be batting, Sri Lanka are well-equipped in this department.
Sri Lanka dropped Chandimal in favor of Suranga Lakmal against India. Lakmal ended up bowling 2 overs for 19 runs in a match where Sri Lanka could desperately have used some reinforcements in the middle order. The rest of the bowling attack has been as inept as Lakmal in the last match. Pradeep and Chameera have just not been penetrative, just like the rest. It was for this reason that the last match between these sides was so high scoring, and it looks like this will be another run-fest due to the sheer inability of these attacks.
Sri Lanka win. Shakib is a huge boost, but Sri Lanka possess a far better batting lineup even with the addition.