Bangladesh eye winning start in Super 12 against familiar foes SL

Bangladesh till date have played Sri Lanka in the format 11 times with the Lankans leading the head-to-head 7-4

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File photo of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia <strong>Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune</strong>

Bangladesh players celebrate the fall of a Scotland wicket during their T20 World Cup first round clash in Muscat Sunday AFP

Bangladesh will begin their Super 12 journey in the T20 World Cup taking on Sri Lanka in Group 1 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium Sunday.

Bangladesh reached the main event of the tournament amid a heavy environment in the dressing room, triggered by the six-run defeat to Scotland in the qualifying round.

They qualified with convincing wins in the next two games – against Oman and Papua New Guinea - but the uneasiness remains following the exchange of words between the dressing room and Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan.

Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo in the press conference Saturday emphasized the players be more focused on the five matches in the Super 12s, but this came hot on the heels of Nazmul speaking to the media in Dhaka and explaining his recent interactions with the team and its management.

With the bat, Bangladesh are still working hard to overcome the conundrum of the underperforming openers.

In the three qualifying games, Bangladesh had two set of openers in Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das in the first match and then the responsibility was put on the shoulders of Liton and Mohammad Naim.

Among the three only Naim has been able to do some of the job scoring a 64 against Oman, but was out for a duck against PNG.

Liton in three games has scored five, six and 29.  

Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah is enjoying good form with the bat with Shakib al Hasan chipping in on occasions.

Mahmudullah in the qualifiers totaled 90 runs while Shakib, alongside picking up nine wickets has scored 108 runs.

Shakib, who has 675 runs in 28 matches in the T20 World Cup, can get past 700 and catch AB de Villiers sitting at No 5 with 717.

In terms of wickets, left-arm spinner Shakib with 39 scalps is the joint highest wicket-taker in the T20 World Cup and can leapfrog Shahid Afridi.

With Shakib in the lead backed by Mustafizur Rahman, Bangladesh will wait till the last minute to decide on the bowling attack.

However, the wicket in Sharjah is expected to be slow and scoring effectively will be pretty difficult.

It is highly expected for Bangladesh to bank on the spinners in the game and expect the same from the opponents.

Sri Lanka are coming into the Super 12s boosted with confidence.

The island nation are in terrific form which was displayed in the qualifying round.

Sri Lanka in Group A finished as champions with six points from three games.

They bowled well throughout and also dismissed the Netherlands for just 44 Friday.

Leg-spin all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga is the man in form for the Lankans and his exploits will be massive.

Sri Lanka are also dealing with top order issue and Bangladesh will surely target to cash in on that aspect.

Bangladesh till date have played Sri Lanka in the format 11 times with the Lankans leading the head-to-head 7-4.

Bangladesh have won the last two games though and will aim to continue their winning ways.

The two teams have met on just one occasion in the T20 World Cup with Sri Lanka winning the game by 64 runs in the 2007 edition.

The game will begin at 4pm Bangladesh standard time.

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