Rain, not Lanka, Bangladesh fear

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Bangladesh face the danger of missing two vital points in the World Cup as rain threatens to ruin their match against Sri Lanka in Bristol County Ground today.

The Tigers are expected to beat a struggling Sri Lankan side to give themselves a realistic chance to qualify for the semi-final and a wash-out could seriously dent their hopes.

The pitch of the ground went under the cover once rain started pouringin the afternoon on Monday soon after Bangladesh and Sri Lanka completed their training session.

A similar situation prevailed at London’s Oval and Cardiff’s Sophia Garden’s before Bangladesh’s match against New Zealand and England respectively but weather improved in time to see a complete game.

However, the forecast for Bristol is different, meaning the match could suffer the same fate of Pakistan-Sri Lanka match, which had to be abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Even if there is a game, it could be only a truncated affair barring a dramatic improvement of weather by the time the match starts at 3:30pm Bangladesh Standard Time.

Bangladesh were praying for a full 50-over game, which they believe would give them a better chance to beat Sri Lanka, who won just eight one-day internationals since 2018.

‘I hope we will play a full match tomorrow…boys are really hungry to win matches, so team is fine. But again, expecting a full match,’ said Bangladesh captain Mashrafee bin Murtaza on Monday ahead of the contest.

Bangladesh have 2-2 record against Sri Lanka during the period, which put the two teams on par in terms of number, though the Tigers will enjoy some psychological advantage due to the result of their last meeting.

Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka by 137 runs in the game in Asia Cup, where the Islanders also lost to Afghanistan and failed to qualify for the Super Four stage.

Sri Lankan cricket suffered turmoil since the Asia Cup debacle and came into the World Cup with relatively an unheralded squad, which made them a target of almost every side.

Bangladesh, however, had their own issues to deal with as the Tigers suffered two demoralising losses against New Zealand and England despite starting the tournament on a winning note.

The defeat against New Zealand was disappointing for Bangladesh, especially after coming so close when they nearly defended a modest score of 244 runs. Bangladesh’s morale suffered further once hosts England did not even allow them to contest in their favourite ground Cardiff.

The two contrasting defeats, where all-rounder Sakib Al Hasan was the only player to perform in a satisfactory manner, put Bangladesh in need of rethinking their strategy and team combination.

Bangladesh so far played all three-matches with the same squad but might bring a change or two considering the familiarity of the opponents, condition and size of the ground.

Bristol has a small boundary, which suggests spinners may not be as effective as they were in other venues.

Unlike the many other teams, Sri Lankans also play spin well, which may encourage Bangladesh to bring an extra pacer at the expense of spinning all-rounder or spinner.

All-rounder Sakib al Hasan could be rested after he complained of thigh injury that he picked up during his batting in team’s 106-run loss against England in Cardiff.

The injury forced Sakib to refrain from training and undergo a scan, the result of could not be confirmed yet.

Sakib’s injury may give Rubel Hossain a chance to play his first match while Bangladesh could also bring Liton Das or Sabbir Rahman in place of underperforming Mohammad Mithun to strengthen their squad.

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