World Cup 2019: Match 16, Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh - One player from each team who can make a difference
Bangladesh have had a pretty good tournament so far. Having played against South Africa, New Zealand, and England at the beginning of their campaign they have managed to put on some impressive performances.
They convincingly defeated the Proteas in their first game and pushed the Kiwis deep in a tense encounter. They were found wanting a little bit against the hosts England where they came up against Jason Roy and his brilliance.
Despite chasing a mammoth total of 387 runs which was daunting from the start, they put on a fight and the number one raked allrounder in the world Shakib Al Hasan’s century was magnificent. They were outclassed by a better team on the day, but the fight was never missing.
Sri Lanka on the other have been listless with the bat right through this World Cup. They just haven’t been able to put on competitive totals for their bowling attack to defend. Despite a collapse against Afghanistan where they lost seven wickets for 36 runs, the bowlers- Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep bailed them out.
The two batsmen in their side based on talent and experience, Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis have scored a combined total of 2 runs so far in CWC 2019. That probably sums up Sri Lanka’s situation rather well as they take on a spirited, confident Bangladesh today:
Here’s looking at one player from each team who can make a difference for their side.
Shakib Al Hasan - Bangladesh
The poster boy of Bangladesh cricket - Shakib Al Hasan shoulders the batting responsibility of the side apart from players like Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das. He has been in red hot batting form of late.
Shakib has scored a fifty in each of his last four innings, including a feisty century against England albeit in a losing cause. His biggest attribute lies in his ability to move up or down the batting order as the match situation requires him to.
His bowling is underrated but is extremely crucial in the middle-overs and death overs to put a curb on the oppositions scoring. Looking at how the Lankans have faired as a batting unit thus far in this tournament, it won’t be a surprise if he causes lot of troubles to their right-handed batsmen in particular.
Lasith Malinga - Sri Lanka
Probably the only player in this Sri Lanka fifteen-member squad who doesn’t deserve to be part of such a underperforming unit, Lasith Malinga has been a star performer and match-winner all these years for Sri Lanka and for also the franchise teams he has represented.
In what would be his swansong from international cricket, Malinga showed us what he is made of. With their backs to their back, and with the possibility of losing to Afghanistan, ‘Slinga’ Malinga produced a match-winning spell.
He was backed up superbly by Nuwan Pradeep and between them they snaffled seven wickets. It was Malinga’s initial burst that ruffled Afghanistan’s batsmen. He utilised their inexperience to play in such hostile, moving conditions to the fullest.
His ODI record where has bagged 325 wickets at a reasonable average of 29.18 makes for fine reading especially considering he is used mainly in the death overs. Against Bangladesh he has scalped 24 wickets in nine games at a very miserly average of 17.23.
With Pradeep out of this clash with a dislocated finger, Sri Lanka’s hopes completely rest on the Malinga’s shoulders. Will he deliver, or will the Bangladesh batsmen play out his threat?
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