Added pressure on Sri Lanka after Bangladesh’s historic win | Daily News


Added pressure on Sri Lanka after Bangladesh’s historic win

Few would have given Bangladesh any chance of beating India in India in any format. But the Bengal Tigers (which is their national emblem) turned the form book upside down to pull off a stunning seven-wicket win to go one-up in the three-match T20 international series.

Prior to leaving for India, Bangladesh cricket had to undergo a tumultuous few weeks. Their cricket was plunged into a state of turmoil by the players going on strike on the eve of the tour. The strike was however called off after the Bangladesh Cricket Board accepted most of the players’ demands that included a pay hike.

Then a fresh crisis erupted when their T20I captain and superstar Shakib Al Hasan was banned by the ICC for two years, with one year of that suspended, for having breached the ICC’s Anti-Corruption code by not reporting approaches to engage in corrupt conduct.

Without Shakib and senior batsman Tamim Iqbal (on personal grounds) it was left to Bangladesh’s senior most player in the team Mushfiqur Rahim to draw up all his experience and steer the side to a historic victory – Bangladesh’s first in T20 internationals against their mighty neighbours in nine attempts.

Mushfiqur hit a match-winning 60 not out as Bangladesh chased down India’s total of 148-6 to win with three balls to spare. The win is something which Bangladesh cricket would savour for a long time because it came in the 1000th T20 international.

At the end of the match Mushfiqur said the win had brought back smiles and calmness to the team and the nation.

“The last two to three weeks has been the toughest situation that I have faced in my 15-year cricketing career. Before leaving Bangladesh, I told the media there that the only way we can set things right would be if we can win a couple of matches in India, or play well enough to bring back smiles and calmness to the team and the nation. That’s what we have done and hopefully we can continue this form,” said Mushfiqur after taking the man of the match award.

What Bangladesh’s win has done is brought extra pressure on Sri Lanka to perform and win when they make a three-match T20I tour to India in January.

Bangladesh are ranked ninth two spots below Sri Lanka who have risen to seventh following their 3-0 win over Pakistan. However that emphatic win over Pakistan was deflated when Australia thrashed them by the same margin and quite convincingly at that in all three games.

The loss has raised a few question marks on the leadership of veteran fast bowler Lasith Malinga who took over the captaincy for the Australian tour from all-rounder Dasun Shanaka under whose leadership Sri Lanka made a clean sweep in Pakistan.

If Malinga is to lead his country he has to first set an example to the rest of his team. During the Australian series his captaincy was not all that great and it is the captain who does all the changes whether it is batting, bowling or fielding. For example in the third T20I at Melbourne he decided to send Bhanuka Rajapaksa a proven batsman at no. 7 while promoting all-rounder Shehan Jayasuriya to five, whereas it should have been the other way around. Needless to say Jayasuriya struggled 15 balls for 12 runs without hitting a single boundary, while Rajapaksa hit an unbeaten 17 off 11 balls with a six and a four. Had Rajapaksa been sent up the order he could have contributed more to the total.

Malinga maybe a legend of the game but with a young side discipline is a priority. Reports reaching us indicate that he does not train with the rest of his team mates and shows little interest for fitness which is not a good sign for the team. It would be pertinent to point out that Malinga missed a crucial catch at mid-off from David Warner when the batsman was on 12 in the third and final T20I at Melbourne. Warner went onto guide Australia to victory and a series sweep (3-0) with his third score of over fifty in the series.

With Sri Lanka Cricket in the process of recruiting a new head coach for the national team to replace Chandika Hathurusingha ahead of the tour to India, these issues are something that the new coach will have to sit down and emphasise. Either you pull your weight with the team or sacrifice your place.

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