International cricket returns to the fold on Sunday when Bangladesh and Sri Lanka embark on an ODI series which could have huge implications for both down the line as it forms part of the Super League which is determining qualification for the 2023 World Cup.
These two sides haven’t been among the more active teams since the pandemic struck but that is set to change for both with decent amounts of cricket on the horizon for them. They’ll want to go into that with a win in this series.
This will be the third ODI series that Bangladesh have played since the turn of the year. They started it with a good 3-0 win over a second string West Indies team before going to New Zealand and being outclassed. You would probably have expected those series to go the way they did and it will be interesting to see if being back in home conditions allows Bangladesh to come out on top in this series. They need to because their ICC Super League record needs a boost to guarantee them appearing in the 2023 World Cup.
Bangladesh might have benefitted from the IPL being postponed heading into this series as they have the likes of Mustafizur and Shakib available whereas there would probably have been a battle to get them had the IPL still been going on. They will be key players in a side who still rely a little too heavily on their experienced players. Tamim Iqbal is continuing to develop as a captain so he’ll be delighted to have extra experience to call upon.
This is just the second ODI series that Sri Lanka will play in since the pandemic first hit. They were in a transitional period heading into the pandemic and that remains the case coming out of it. They were competitive in their last series in the Caribbean but West Indies still got the better of them 3-0 but when you think they had something to build on from a performance point of view, they have now changed their captain again which suggests they might be back to square one.
Kusal Perera is the man tasked with taking the 50 over team forward but he might have his work cut out with some many youngsters in and around their ranks. You’d hope they will be patient with him but when they looked better in defeat to West Indies and still gave Dimuth Karunaratne the chop, you suspect time is something he won’t be getting. That means he’ll need his senior players to be counted and their exciting spinners to be on song.
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Shakib-al-Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman are both in the squad for Bangladesh in this series so they should be included in the starting XI. Rubel Hossain is out though so Mohammad Saifuddin could get the chance to utilise his all-round skills.
It is all change for Sri Lanka once again. They will be forced to make at least four changes to the one which lost the last ODI in the Caribbean. They have dropped Dimuth Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal and Suranga Lakmal while Thisara Perera has retired. Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis and Isuru Udana are expected to be included.
Given that Sri Lanka look to have gone back to the drawing board and are starting again this looks like an ideal chance for Bangladesh to get the series up and running with a win. At some point they are going to need to undergo the same transitional phase that Sri Lanka are currently going through but at the minute their experienced stars are still of use to them and I think it is that experience in their side that can get them over the line here.
Bangladesh have shown they can play the modern 50 over style and although home pitches don’t always lend themselves to great cricket, you wouldn’t think they are going to have too many issues against spin and there isn’t a lot in the Sri Lanka seamers to worry them. Bangladesh bowlers do go well in home conditions, in particular Mustafizur so I’m expecting them to have more than enough to come out on top at a fair 8/11 price.
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