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Nidahas Trophy – 6th T20I Preview: Virtual semi-final for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

If you’re sick of India v Sri Lanka matches, you’d surely be hoping for a Bangladesh win. Well, unless you’re a Sri Lanka fan I guess, but surely even they are sick of seeing their team play (and often lose) to India. For the sake of Sri Lanka’s “revival” (and Daniel Alexander’s Twitter which will get hammered by India fans), reaching the final of this tournament is the minimum requirement.

Just since July 2017, India and Sri Lanka have played each other in 20 matches across formats, which is absolutely ridiculous. Bangladesh stand in the way of match number 21, as this match is a virtual semi final – winner goes through to the final.

Can Bangladesh stop ANOTHER Sri Lanka v India match?

Sri Lanka have lost the plot somewhat after their excellent first up win against India. Both India and Sri Lanka have veered in opposite directions – India have won three games in a row, and Sri Lanka have lost two, finding themselves in a sudden death situation as the home nation. Their bowling fell in a heap when they failed to defend 214 against Bangladesh, and then their batting struggled against India, losing too many wickets en route to 152/9.

For Bangladesh, my man Shakib Al Hasan makes his return to their squad. One of my favourite cricketers, Shakib was originally ruled out of the tournament, and his return will provide much needed support with the ball, as well as extra experience and quality with the bat. Bangladesh showed good signs against India in a more competitive showing, however their death bowling is of concern, and they need to fix their issues in this must-win game.

Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, previously Bangladesh coach, has ramped up the pressure ahead of this clash, claiming that Bangladesh are taking a desperate measure bringing Shakib back if he’s not fully fit. Chandika, the Bangladeshis chased 215 against your boys last week without Shakib – shouldn’t the focus be on your team instead?

Nonetheless, this should be an interesting clash.

Key to a Sri Lanka win

Can the bowlers put on a better showing?
Can the bowlers put on a show that ensures Daniel Alexander doesn’t cop a barrage of trolling on Twitter after his team fails to make a final at home against Bangladesh and a weakened India? 
In all seriousness, yes, I spoke of their disappointing batting effort against India, but their bowlers are leaking plenty of runs at the moment. A week ago, Bangladesh chased down 214, when their previous best chase in T20I history was in the 160s. That is the biggest concern for Sri Lanka.
Against Bangladesh, despite Shakib’s return, expect Sri Lanka’s batsman to have a pretty good time of things. Sri Lanka’s top order has been impressive in this series, especially the two Kusals – Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera. However, the likes of Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Pradeep have struggled to execute their lengths, and Sri Lanka find themselves in this sudden-death position because of their poor execution with the ball. Expect that to be their big focus in this game.

Most will be wrong, but check these out anyway!

Key to a Bangladesh win

Can the possible return of Shakib lead to a better bowling display for Bangladesh? If he doesn’t play, will Bangladesh’s bowlers show improvement? Bowling coach Courtney Walsh has spoken of the need for an improved bowling performance, and he’s right…
In this tournament, Bangladesh have missed Shakib’s services with the ball especially. Against India in the previous match, Bangladesh leaked 79 runs in the last six overs, and eventually fell short by 17 runs. To have a chance in this match, they need a consistent bowling performance, headlined by Mustafizur Rahman in particular, who unfortunately hasn’t been able to reach the heights he reached before his major shoulder injury.
Also, with the bat, support is required for Mushfiqur Rahim. He seemed to play the lone hand in the previous game against India, which saw Bangladesh fall short. In the match before that against Sri Lanka, Tamim and Liton were superb at the top, setting the tone for the innings. Mahmudullah has had a quiet tournament so far, so there is no better time than now to get things right.

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Predicted teams:

Don’t expect too many changes for Sri Lanka. They need to pick up their game to avoid an early exit of a competition they are hosting. It will be disastrous after talking about a “revival”.
Sri Lanka XI: 1. Danusha Gunathilaka, 2. Kusal Mendis, 3. Kusal Perera (wk), 4. Upul Tharanga, 5. Thisara Perera (c), 6. Dasun Shanaka, 7. Jeevan Mendis, 8. Akila Dananjaya, 9. Suranga Lakmal, 10. Dushmantha Chameera, 11 Nuwan Pradeep
Pending a fitness test, Shakib is likely to return to the Bangladesh side. He batted very well in the recent ODI Tri-Series against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at number three. It will be interesting to see where he bats for Bangladesh if he plays. Nazmul Islam is likely to miss out.
Bangladesh XI: 1. Tamim Iqbal, 2. Soumya Sarkar, 3. Liton Das, 4. Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5. Mahmudullah, 6. Shakib Al Hasan (c), 7. Sabbir Rahman, 8. Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9. Mustafizur Rahman, 10. Rubel Hossain, 11. Abu Hider

Stats & Facts:

  • Kusal Mendis in T20Is this year: 246 runs at 49.20 with four fifties in five matches.
  • In the last meeting, Bangladesh achieved their highest ever chase, mowing down 214 set by Sri Lanka.
  • Mahmudullah has scored just 32 runs in three innings. Will the return of captain Shakib release the pressure?

Prediction:

This promises to be a very interesting match, and the return of Shakib might shift this in Bangladesh’s favour. Even though he might be a little rusty, Shakib will have plenty to offer, and walks into a Bangladesh side that has improved as the tournament has gone on. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have got worse, and could struggle to deal with the pressure of missing the final.
I have a feeling Bangladesh will win in a close game, because they will play with a mindset of “having nothing to lose”. Bangladesh have the talent to expose any Sri Lanka nerves, and I think Sri Lanka will have a few. Bangladesh to progress to the final.
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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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