Bangladesh had no inkling about how things could go as horribly haywire as it has since their emphatic start in the tri-nation ODI series at home, where they began with three wins - two over Zimbabwe and one over Sri Lanka. Ever since, they have lost two ODIs, one Test and three T20Is. On Thursday night, one couldn't help but empathise with skipper Mahmudullah who was sent down a barrage of questions in the post-match press conference. And, all he had to offer everyone was, "I strongly believe we have the capability to do well, it is just about that one game which will give us our momentum back, we are waiting for that moment, if we get that, you will see a different Bangladesh."
Skipper Mahmudullah has called for fearlessness, more than thrice since landing in Colombo, but their fears are obvious as the bunch has been forced to cop one loss after the other, especially in this format (in their past 14 T20Is, Bangladesh have won only one). At the heart of Bangladesh's first loss was their dot-ball percentage - a staggering 45 percent. While the Bangladesh batsmen played out as many as 55 dot balls, they picked only 43 singles alongside seven twos and threes. With their batsmen struggling to keep up the run-rate through the middle overs, they would either need to go ballistic in the powerplay or improve their game through the experience of Mushfiqur Rahim and the captain himself in the middle overs. Because Sri Lanka will come hard at them, and if Kusal Perera's knock was anything to go by, Bangladesh might need to duck for cover.
Sri Lanka's confidence, rather the lack of it till some time ago, was much similar to what Bangladesh are going through at the moment, and it was through wins stitched in Bangladesh that the hosts have found their mojo back. The win against India in the tournament opener has got them off to a noble start and having turned up and played against Bangladesh every second day in the past two months, hands them a better understanding too. If the hosts had to worry about anything, it'd be about Nuwan Pradeep and Akila Dananjaya, who went for a lot of runs. Bangladesh, though, will be content with their bowling performance as Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman and Mehidy Hasan put their best foot forward in a below-par total's defense. However, to turn the tables around, they would need a lot more than just that.
When: March 10, Wednesday, 7 PM Local
Where: R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
What to expect: There's a 90 percent possibility of thundershowers till late afternoon. However, the forecast is promising for the rest of the evening. That might just spice up the wicket which otherwise is expected to slow down as the tournament wears on.
Sri Lanka: After collecting a crucial win to start their campaign, the host nation will not look to make any wholesale changes. At best, Nuwan Pradeep could make way for vice-captain Suranga Lakmal.
Probable XI: Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal (c/wk), Upul Tharanga, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera.
Bangladesh: There's little scope for Bangladesh to draft in any changes for the game since the batting outfit they fielded is the best they have brought for this competition. Also with their bowling holding up well in the first game, they might as well give it another try with the same eleven. However, desperation could lead to some last minute change.
Probable XI: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah (c), Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Nazmul Islam.