Before the start of the tournament, not many people predicted Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would be placed in the same group in the Super 12s, the tournament proper. But due to Bangladesh's shock loss to Scotland on 17 October, they finished second in Group B and joined England, the West Indies, Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka in Group 1.
Despite being neighbouring countries, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka don't face each other too often in this format, the last faceoff being as early as 2018.
Although they do not have a great record of late, Sri Lanka have got off to a terrific start in the tournament, having crushed all three opponents in the first round. On the other hand, Bangladesh's first-round results were mixed as they lost to Scotland and then managed to recover from there with two convincing wins against Oman and Papua New Guinea.
Group 1 originally comprises mostly non-Asian teams and that's the reason why Bangladesh and Sri Lanka can fancy making a few upsets in the tournament. Both the teams have brilliant spinners and it won't be wrong to say that the battle between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be a battle between the spinners of the two sides.
Maximising powerplay a must for Bangladesh
In the second half of the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), teams scoring more runs in the powerplay won 23 out of 30 matches. That shows how important maximising the powerplay is especially in these conditions where it becomes increasingly difficult to score runs later on. Bangladesh have been one of the worst sides when it comes to utilising the powerplay. Since 2019, their average run rate in the first six overs is only 6.48. They must improve that and one of the openers needs to take some chances during this phase of the game.
"Performance in the powerplay is important here. It shows that teams with more runs in the powerplay tend to win more games. I think the first six overs with bat and ball will be important tomorrow," Tigers' head coach Russel Domingo emphasised the importance of powerplay.
Toss an important factor
Bangladesh, of late, have a good record while defending totals. They lost against Scotland while chasing 141 but successfully defended totals in the next two games. Since 2019, they have won eight out of 12 matches while defending totals whereas they lost nine out of 18 while chasing. So clearly they are better-suited for defending totals and that's why the toss becomes a mighty important factor. Teams batting first won nine out of 16 matches in Sharjah and Bangladesh will certainly want to bat first if they win the toss.
Bangladesh conceding too many against lower-order
Bangladesh have been guilty of giving too many runs against the lower-middle and lower-order batters of the opponents recently. They were in a good position against Sri Lanka in the warm-up match at one stage, reducing them to 79 for six. But since then they failed to take a single wicket and Sri Lanka were home.
A similar thing happened against Scotland as they reached 140 from 53 for six at one stage and Bangladesh eventually lost the match. Therefore, they need to make sure they continue to apply pressure on the lower-order batters and not to ruin the good starts.
Sri Lanka need consistency in the top-order
Sri Lanka's top-order hasn't quite fired in the tournament and that forced them to drop Dinesh Chandimal in the last match against the Netherlands. They have invariably lost wickets upfront in this tournament. Pathum Nissaka got runs against Ireland and Kusal Perera against the Netherland but the top-order needs to come good collectively. Avishka Fernando played a match-turning knock against Bangladesh in the warm-up match against Bangladesh but has been out of touch since then.
They don't have a settled top four and Bangladesh must take that advantage to topple Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's bowling attack a threat to Bangladesh
Sri Lanka's bowling has been outstanding, to say the least thus far in the tournament as they tormented the opponents with the ball in all three matches. 96, 101, 44- are the totals Sri Lanka bundled out teams for in Round one. They have two fast bowlers bowling at high 140s regularly in Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara.
Wanindu Hasaranga has been a revelation with his deceptive leg-spin. He has taken 26 wickets this year in T20Is and most remarkably his economy rate is below six, 5.31 to be exact. Bangladesh have to be very wary of his bag of tricks. Sri Lanka might miss the services of mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana because of an injury he picked up in the previous match but it's still a brilliant bowling attack and Bangladesh must bring their A-game to combat the threat posed by them.
The match will be held in Sharjah on Sunday at 2 pm local time (4 pm BDST).