While Sri Lanka have already booked a spot in the Asia Cup 2014 final, Bangladesh are out    AFP
While Sri Lanka have already booked a spot in the Asia Cup 2014 final, Bangladesh are out AFP

 

By Abhijit Banare

Mar 5, 2014

 

It all went well for Bangladesh until it took another Shahid Afridi blitz to make the next two matches of the Asia Cup 2014 inconsequential. It’s all a matter of pride now for Bangladesh as they seek to muster at least one victory in the tournament being the hosts. And it couldn’t have been a harder task than to face the team in form in the Asia Cup Sri Lanka.

 

To be fair to the hosts, they played above expectations against a mediocre-effort by the Pakistan bowlers. The shorter boundaries have further made the batsmen look more monstrous than they are. The mishits went comfortably for a six. The hosts got carried away and allowed the momentum to slip in all of their three previous matches.

 

Against Sri Lanka, though they have nothing to lose from the tournament’s point of view but there’s a lot of criticism to be dealt with. The frustration was evident in the previous match when Mushfiqur Rahim brought in wholesale changes in the playing XI. The return of Shakib Al Hasan has made them stronger but the ability to grasp a match-winning situation has been missing.

 

In a dead rubber, the pressure is clearly on Bangladesh to punch above their weight again and hope for a much more disciplined performance with the bat.

 

And the records too don’t favour the hosts as they were recently whitewashed in the One-Day International (ODI) series by the Lankans.

 

As far as the Sri Lankans are concerned, they have two options to go about playing this match. Either give the seasoned players a rest ahead of the final considering that they have played every alternate day; or keep the momentum going. Whatever the decision, none of it will matter to Kumar Sangakkara, who is on a Bull Run scoring centuries after centuries with that silken touch and elegance symbolising a left-hander.

 

Along with Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne and Kusal Perera too have shown hints of responsibility. All three left-handers at the top will be keen to fire once again.

 

If there’s just a hint of concern it has to be the solidity in the middle-order with Mahela Jayawardene not in the best of form. The top-order has done well to cover up the brittleness below. In the bowling, they still need some more from the pacers apart from Lasith Malinga.

 

This is not the Fatullah pitch, which makes difficult to hit the spinners. In fact, spinners bore the brunt of the mishits which casually flew across beyond the ropes. The Lankans will take this as a scrutiny of their bowling and sharpen their tools before they face a red-hot Shahid Afridi in the finals.

 

Squads:

 

Bangladesh: Anamul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim (c & wk), Shamsur Rahman, Imrul Kayes, Nasir Hossain, Naeem Islam, Mominul Haque, Arafat Sunny, Ziaur Rahman, Abdur Razzak, Sohag Gazi, Mashrafe Mortaza, Rubel Hossain, Al-Amin Hossain.

 

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (c), Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Thisara Perera, Chaturanga de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Ajantha Mendis, Ashan Priyanjan and Dhammika Prasad.

 

Time: 8:00 GMT I 13:30 IST

 

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)