The freakish World Cup final isn’t even two weeks old and we’re already into more cricket. Life goes on, so does cricket and here we are, on the verge of a series between two teams who are looking for redemption as one of the modern day greats, Lasith Malinga bids farewell to ODI cricket.
Bangladesh, with unarguably their best World Cup side ever, finished eighth, last among the teams who qualified for the biggest cricketing event automatically. On the other hand, Sri Lankan cricket is going through a tough phase albeit they managed to finish above Bangladesh and South Africa.
This series comes to Bangladesh as an opportunity to prove that the World Cup disaster was only a fluke and they still remain a better side than the likes of Sri Lanka, even without their captain Mashrafe Mortaza and star performer Shakib Al Hasan. Saifuddin, one of the better performers from the World Cup misses the tour with injury, whereas Liton Das is on a leave for his marriage. Not only for the team, but this tour is also a proving point for youngsters like Taskin Ahmed and Anamul Haque, who were left out of the World Cup squad. This series also provides Farhad Reza, who has been performing brilliantly in the domestic arena, a chance in the national team after five years and in ODIs after eight years. Taskin ahmed was missed throughout the World Cup as Bangladesh lacked a genuine speedster in their ranks, whereas Anamul Haque can take advantage of Soumya Sarkar’s bad patch albeit he has often been criticized as ‘selfish’. Taijul Islam has been a regular for the test side, but hasn’t been considered for limited-over cricket since 2016. Shafiul Islam is the latest appendage to the team, who will look for his first match for the Tigers after 2016. This series also comes as a big test for Tamim Iqbal, who has been handed captaincy in absence of Mashrafe and Shakib, as he will have the chance to redeem himself from his poor World Cup campaign.
On the other hand, Sri lanka has had some massive changes for their squad. They announced a 22-man squad primarily, but cut it down to 16 on Wednesday. Suranga Lakmal, Jeffrey Vandersay, Jeevan Mendis and Milinda Siriwardana have been dropped from their World Cup squad, with Lakmal’s exclusion being the biggest shock as the seamer was the spearhead of their bowling attack for a long time. Shehan Jayasuriya, Wanindu Hasaranga, Akila Dananjaya and Lahiru Kumara have been called up to replace them. Still no signs of Dinesh Chandimal, which is a big surprise. Sri Lankan coaching staffs are in immense pressure as head coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, who is a candidate for being the Bangladesh head coach again, is on the verge of getting sacked, only a dominant series win against Bangladesh might save him from his very obvious fate.
The first match of the series will be curtains on the glorious ODI career of Lasith Malinga, as he hangs up his boots for the 50-over format. The Slinga will end with more than 300 career wickets and One Day Cricket will forever miss his slinging pinpoint yorkers after 26th July.
Bangladesh will have at least four changes from their last World Cup game as four of their starting eleven are not available for the series. Mohammad Mithun is set to make a return at No.3 after his 91 in the warm-up match, whereas Sabbir Rahman is likely to replace Liton Das. Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain are likely candidates to lead the pace attack with Mustafizur Rahman.
Possible Lineup - 1. Tami Iqbal ©, 2. Soumya Sarkar, 3. Mohammad Mithun, 4. Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5. Mahmudullah Riyad, 6. Mosaddek Hossain, 7. Sabbir Rahman, 8. Mehidy Hasan, 9. Rubel Hossain, 10. Taskin ahmed, 11. Mustafizur Rahman
Sri Lanka will back Avishka Fernando to continue his brilliant form from the World Cup, and they will hope for better performances from their middle order who were disappointing in the World Cup. They will probably play without any changes from their last game in the World Cup and will look to give Lasith malinga the perfect farewell.
Possible Lineup - 1. Dimuth Karunaratne (c), 2. Kusal Perera (wk), 3. Avishka Fernando, 4. Kusal Mendis, 5. Angelo Mathews, 6. Lahiru Thirimanne, 7. Thisara Perera, 8. Dhananjaya de Silva, 9. Isuru Udana, 10. Lasith Malinga, 11. Kasun Rajitha
Weather and Conditions
The weather doesn’t look cricket-friendly as there’s the possibility of rain throughout the day. Possibilities of heavy showers in the morning is pretty high, and it would be disappointing if Malinga’s farewell was ruined by rain.
Early morning showers might provide the fast bowlers with some juice from the pitch and batting should get easier with time.