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SL Vs Bangladesh : The Subcontinental Scrap

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When the tournament began, few would have expected this match to gain the amount of importance that it has. Bangladesh will come out at the Queen’s Park Oval with their heads held high, while Sri Lanka will come in with a mindset similar to that of a tiger surrounded by tamers- feeling strong, but a tad self-conscious. No doubt they would have watched India’s defeat to Bangladesh numerous times and become vary of the Bengal Tigers. A team that has beaten two title contenders within a fortnight can’t really be called a minnow. All in all, this game might just add to the already shaken and stirred hopes in Group B.   

 

Taming the Bengal Tigers

Stats said India should defeat Bangladesh. History said Bangladesh win when they restrict their opponents to around 220 odd. The result spoke for itself. This bizarre combination of stats and history will hold centre stage once again as we go in for this big game. A win for Bangladesh will see them through to the next round with India and Sri Lanka fighting for the remaining second berth. A Sri Lankan win will leave each country’s followers with their hopes resting on the other team’s performances and the dreaded, befuddling Net Run Rate.

 On an average, Sri Lanka has the capacity to score around 215-235 runs in an innings. However, their bowling generally tends to give away almost the same number of runs. Their win percentage is fairly healthy at 47%. Also, not many of their runs come off flashy big hits, giving them more stability while farming singles and twos. On an average, a Sri Lankan player has a 50+ innings once every 5 games. This stat tells us, especially when compared to India’s corresponding figure of 3.5, that this is a team which is not as dependent on big scores as they are on an overall team- batting effort, and therefore, tend to have more stable chases.

Another edge that the Lankans hold is their better bowling attack, with almost every bowler except Jayasuriya having an average higher than the overall team average. They have already put up a show of strength by shooting Bermuda down for 78. Also, the Indian collapse would have given them several useful second-hand lessons. All in all, this team seems better equipped than the Indians to face the Bangladeshi whirlpool, especially now that they know this is a whirlpool they are facing and not just a random strong wave.



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 Bangladesh, we maintain, will look dangerous if they limit the opposition to below 250, or put up anything above 220 to chase. As they proved in several previous games, the first 10 to 15 overs they bowl, especially if they are bowling first, assume a lot of importance. History has shown it is difficult to recover against Bangladesh if you lose quick opening wickets and find yourself at 100 for 5. Mortaza and Syed Rasel remain the bowlers to look out for, while Tahim enters the list at the batsmen’s end. Backed as they are by a morale boosting victory over India and possible dream-come-true-situation of entering the last 8 on sheer merit with no forfeitures or fluke wins, many may already be betting on Bangladesh.

 
  The result will decide a lot of things. Or at least, make the equation a lot more complicated. As Bill Lawry would have said, its all happening here in the
Caribbean!

 



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