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A struggling Sri Lanka still finding their feet at the World Cup take on a fired-up Bangladesh outfit primed to make a serious run at the World Cup trophy for the first time in their history – if the weather permits. Join The Roar for live scores and ball-by-ball coverage from 7:30pm (AEST).
Since playing their first ever World Cup in 1999, Bangladesh have played the role of plucky underdogs, racking up some noticeable upsets over more fancied rivals.
All that changed, however, with a stunning triumph over England at the 2015 tournament, which booked their place in the quarter-finals and ended the long infancy of Bangladeshi cricket.
With a raft of quality batsmen including wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal, a group of up-and-coming fast bowlers headlined by Mustafizur Rahman and the world’s best limited-overs all-rounder in Shakib Al Hasan, the Tigers are easybeats no more, as they showed with an upset 21-run victory over South Africa to kick off their World Cup in style.
Since then, though, they’ve lost twice to the highly fancied New Zealand and England, and badly need a win to keep pace with the countries around them on the table.
Sri Lanka entered the World Cup as a team in crisis- a new captain in Dimuth Karunaratne, a record of 24 losses from their last 28 ODIs and coach Chandika Hathurusingha hanging onto his job by the skin of his teeth.
But after being thrashed by New Zealand in their first game- their ninth ODI loss in a row – the 1996 champions bounced back with a gritty win over Afghanistan to end the drought, with bowlers Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep helping defend 201.
But with Pradeep ruled out for this match with a hand injury, and the batting unit more than suspect after losing 9 wickets for 57 runs against the Afghanis, they might be hoping the prediction for rain and plenty of it in Bristol throughout the day rings true.
Is this the first time Bangladesh will go in as favourites against a fellow Full Member nation at a World Cup? Really, they should win here and win comfortably – if Sri Lanka struggled against Afghanistan, it’s hard to imagine them finding enough form to knock over the Tigers here.
The weather might be their biggest enemy- a washed-out game would be a bitter blow, and potentially cost them a vital point.
Bangladesh by 8 wickets/110 runs.
Can Bangladesh continue their rise up the cricket hierarchy with a win? Or will Sri Lanka channel the spirit of 1996 to make it two victories in a row? Or will the rain step in to ruin everybody’s day?
Tune into The Roar for live coverage and minute-by-minute updates of this World Cup group match, and remember to join in the discussion in the comments section below.
Venue: Bristol County Ground, Bristol
First ball: 7.30pm (AEST)
TV: Fox Cricket (501, live)
Streaming: Kayo Sports
Betting: Bangladesh $1.67, Sri Lanka $2.20
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Mustafizur Rahman.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera (wk), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Kasun Rajitha.