Colombo, Sept 8 (PTI) Survival will be foremost in Bangladesh’s mind whereas Sri Lanka will aim for a winning start when they cross swords in the second Super 4 match of the Asia Cup here on Saturday.
A seven-wicket towelling at the hands of Pakistan in the Super 4 opener in Lahore has made a victory mandatory for Bangladesh against the Lankans, assuming that the weather remains dry enough for the match to take place.
A defeat will almost certainly put an end to their Asia Cup campaign. Batting is their main concern, and they will have to address it immediately.
They did make 334 for 5 against Afghanistan riding on hundreds by Najmal Shanto and Mehidy Hasan Miraz in the league phase.
But they came a cropper against more capable bowling units of Sri Lanka and Pakistan, making meagre totals of 164 and 193 respectively.
That propensity to go flat against top-class opponents will worry them going into the match against Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankans have a set of bowlers like Maheesh Theekshana, Matheesha Pathirana etc who can inflict high damage, and Bangladesh know it first-hand.
The pace-spin combination of Pathirana and Theekshana had taken six wickets among them to restrict Bangladesh to a sub-200 total in a Group B league match at Pallekele on August 31.
Sri Lanka are better placed in that department and pacer Kasun Rajitha had also played a handy role in their narrow win over Afghanistan in the last league match of the Asia Cup in Lahore on September 5.
Even though he went for a lot of runs, Rajitha’s four-wicket haul helped Lanka score a narrow 2-run victory in that match, along with the Afghans’ unawareness of the run equation.
But the hosts too have their own worries.
The way Afghan batters piled up 289 runs in just 37.4 overs will serve as a timely reminder to the Lankan bowlers about the need to stay focused on the task.
Hence, Bangladesh will be eager to see their frontline batters rising to the occasion.
But they will not have the services of Shanto, who has been ruled out of the Asia Cup with a hamstring injury as Litton Das joined the side ahead of their match against Pakistan but failed to score too many.
Das could not play the first match of the tournament due to viral fever.
So, they will require heavier runs from captain Shakib Al Hasan, who made an 18-ball 32 against Afghanistan but scored half-century in a losing cause against Pakistan.
In turn, Sri Lanka will hope that their captain Dasun Shanaka will be able to deliver on the morrow.
Shanaka can be a handy customer with both bat and ball, but he has been going through a modest run the whole of this year. While their batters have been well below-par on most occasions, Bangladesh bowlers too do not have much to rejoice about.
They never really threatened both Pakistan and Lanka, while it was Afghanistan’s urge to score quickly spelt their doom than any real skilled spell by Bangladesh bowlers.
The likes of Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam can be nagging customers, but then it has not shown in this tournament yet.
So, it could turn into a fascinatingly tight contest between two teams who have their own little perturbations.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Anamul Haque Bijoy, Litton Das, Towhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain Dhrubo, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Nasum Ahmed, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Naim Sheikh, Shamim Hossain, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Tanzim Hasan Sakib.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Pathum Nissanaka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis (vice-captain), Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Matheesha Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha, Dushan Hemantha, Binura Fernando, Pramod Madushan.
Match starts at 3 PM IST.