Advantage Bangladesh as Shakib returns for do-or-die

Nazmul Islam celebrates a wicket
Nidahas Trophy 2017-18 March 15, 2018

Big Picture

Shakib Al Hasan's surprise return has boosted Bangladesh ahead of their do-or-die game against Sri Lanka in the Nidahas Trophy. Even though he is coming back from an injury layoff, Sri Lanka will be wary of his all-round prowess, particularly in a T20 tournament in which four good overs make a big difference.

The home side's batting holds the key for them. Kusal Mendis is in fine form, with the likes of Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga, Thisara Perera and Dasun Shanaka batting around him.

Sri Lanka's worries are with their bowling. Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Pradeep have missed lengths at crucial moments while Suranga Lakmal hasn't been convincing in his only appearance. Isuru Udana, who bowled decently in the T20s in Bangladesh last month, could get a look-in. They will also expect Akila Dananjaya and Thisara Perera to slow things down.

Bangladesh also would like a few more things to go their way, starting with their top-order batsmen finding the coordination that worked well in the previous Sri Lanka game. Liton Das, Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar and Mushfiqur Rahim didn't get in each other's way when going after the bowlers, which meant the batsman at the other end provided support. Against India, it was guns blazing from both ends which didn't really pan out as planned.

Shakib's inclusion would most likely mean Sabbir batting at No. 7 and five specialist bowlers. It should put a smile on interim coach Courtney Walsh's face, as the likes of Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman and Mehidy Hasan can now rely on a very experienced bowler to take the lead role.

Form guide

Sri Lanka: LLWWW (last five completed games, most recent first)

Bangladesh: LWLLL

In the spotlight

After two explosive innings in Bangladesh last month, a lot has been expected from Dasun Shanaka, but lack of opportunity has been an issue for him in this tournament.

Mahmudullah has also been expected to do well after making a couple of quick forties against Sri Lanka last month. But he too hasn't quite made the runs in the Nidahas Trophy; he has 32 runs in three innings.

Team news

Not much is broke with Sri Lanka but they have Dhananjaya de Silva as an extra batting option. Amila Aponso and Isuru Udana are options for bowling spots.

Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Danushka Gunathilaka, 2 Kusal Mendis, 3 Kusal Perera (wk), 4 Upul Tharanga, 5 Thisara Perera (capt), 6 Dasun Shanaka, 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Akila Dananjaya, 9 Suranga Lakmal, 10 Dushmantha Chameera, 11 Nuwan Pradeep

Shakib's return would reshape Bangladesh's line-up, although it may very well just be the one change: Nazmul Islam stepping out and Shakib taking his place.

Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Liton Das, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mahmudullah, 6 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 7 Sabbir Rahman, 8 Mehidy Hasan, 9 Mustafizur Rahman, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Abu Hider

Pitch and conditions

Even if the pitch's characteristics change slightly, chasing seems to be the only option - so the toss becomes very important. Rain remains in the forecast.

Stats and trivia

  • Having regained his place in the T20 side this year, Kusal Mendis has scored four fifties in five matches, 246 runs at an average of 49.20. Before 2018, he had scored just 74 at 9.25

  • Nazmul Islam would be desperate for wickets - he hasn't picked up even one in this tournament so far

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