Sri Lanka must win to stay in tri-series | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka must win to stay in tri-series

Sri Lanka will need Kusal Mendis to fire in the top order if they are to have any chance of winning the crucial match against Zimbabwe at Dhaka today.
Sri Lanka will need Kusal Mendis to fire in the top order if they are to have any chance of winning the crucial match against Zimbabwe at Dhaka today.

DHAKA, Saturday - After a thrilling win against these opponents in the second match of this series, Zimbabwe will be looking to make it two out of two against Sri Lanka and put themselves into the final against hosts Bangladesh. It was Zimbabwe’s third consecutive ODI win against Sri Lanka having beaten them twice in Hambantota in July.

For Sri Lanka, there is a desperate need to turnaround their form in ODI cricket. They have lost their last four matches and have just one win in their last 17 fixtures in one-day cricket. In 2017 they lost 23 of their 29 ODIs. The recent addition of former Bangladesh coach, Chandika Hathurusingha, has been seen as a positive for this team, but it hasn’t translated into positive results – yet.

Sri Lanka’s talismanic captain, Angelo Mathews, will miss this match with a hamstring injury. If they make it to the final he may well return to the team. Dinesh Chandimal will lead the side in his absence. Chandimal conceded his team are not performing anywhere near their best, having lost to Zimbabwe by 12 runs in their first match of the tri-series.

The visitors could only muster 157 in 33 overs in their second match of the series against Bangladesh on Friday handing to the hosts their biggest win in ODI history. “We are really disappointed with our performance,” Chandimal said. “In ODI cricket we’re going through a bad patch. Bangladesh played outstanding cricket, credit to them. It is tough to come out of this. If we win one, we can get things in place. Still we have a chance, and we are in the tournament.”

Meanwhile Mashrafe Moraza said Bangladesh’s 163-run victory over Sri Lanka was one of the team’s best of recent years. The hosts made it two wins from two in the competition, having dispatched Zimbabwe by eight wickets in the opening fixture, with Shakib Al Hasan (67 and 3/47) starring with bat and ball and opener Tamim Iqbal (84) setting a platform for an imposing total of 320/7.

“If you look at the recent past, this is one of the best wins for us,” said Mortaza. “The way the boys played was really good and we have to keep it going. There is always something to learn if you win or lose. Tamim could have got a hundred – but the batting was up to the mark even though nobody got a hundred.

“As a bowling side, we were struggling in South Africa. Back at home, we are up to the mark. The role of Sabbir Rahman (who hit 24 from 12 deliveries) is to finish the innings. He is good to bat at No.6 or 7, and he feels positive there. It is suiting him. We are still finding one more

batsman who can hit like Sabbir. Once Shakib bats at No.3, he looks like a cool and calm customer. Tamim is hungry for the runs. This top five has to bat 40 or 45 overs and they did that today.”

Shakib was named Player of the Match but paid tribute to a fine all-round performance from the team. “Everyone contributed,” he said. “Tamim played the way he has been playing for two or three years. Mushfiqur (Rahim, who scored 62) played well and others chipped in. I thought we bowled really well, and it was a better performance from the last game. Every day you need to improve and there is healthy competition in the team. You can’t relax.” 

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