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January 13, 2009
Match factsJanuary 14, 2008
Big PictureThe instruction is straightforward for Bangladesh - go forth and win. After conceding their opening game against Zimbabwe with an inept display of batting, the final league game of the series now assumes a knock-out scenario for the home side. Sri Lanka currently stand on top of the points table with five, having gained a bonus point, followed by Zimbabwe on four. Bangladesh are yet to open their account and will have to challenge their limits like never before to fill the seats for the final on Friday.
A win will guarantee Bangladesh a place in the final: four points will put them on par with Zimbabwe, and their net run-rate, already better than Zimbabwe's, will only improve.
Mashrafe Mortaza disagreed with the criticism that Bangladesh only perform against big teams when the conditions favour them on a given day and not through the skills of the players. "To play good cricket we don't need a good day," he said. "We have pushed teams regularly but maybe haven't had the results. The players have given their all and we rejoice or feel disappointed in the same way fans do in regards to the success and failure of the Bangladesh team. I hope people realise that it is the players who win games through hard work and should support us."
The crowds still flock to see Bangladesh perform, irrespective of their form. It's up to the players to cut down on indiscreet shots and make an honest effort.
Form guide (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)Sri Lanka WWWWW
Watch out forA world record for Mahela Jayawardene. With 156 catches, he currently shares the record with the former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin for the most takes by a non-wicketkeeper in ODIs. While it took Azharuddin 334 games to set that record, it has taken Jayawardene only 289 matches to equal him. Jayawardene stations himself at slip and with two quality spinners bowling in tandem, the record shouldn't be too far away.
Plenty of spin from Bangladesh. Their seamers, with the exception of Mortaza, leaked runs in excess of six an over against Zimbabwe. It's no secret that spin is Bangladesh's forte and in a pressure situation like tomorrow, it would make sense to utilise their slow men to the maximum. They used four against Zimbabwe and didn't concede more than three and a half an over and even Mohammad Ashraful, gaining a reputation as an innocuous partnership-breaker, was miserly in his four overs.
Team changesBangladesh will field their debutant seamer Rubel Hossain, who bowls for Chittagong Division. Rubel has a sling action and his talents were discovered during a pacer hunt programme where he topped the speed gun. "The team management has told me to be my natural self and my target is to bowl in my natural style," said Rubel. "I feel fit and strong and I am really excited. I haven't told my mother about my debut match yet. She'll be the happiest person when she sees me out there. "
Rubel comes in at the expense of Nazmul Hossain, who did little of note in the first game. Mahmudullah, the middle-order batsman, replaces Mehrab Hossain jnr who has been named 12th man.
Bangladesh: (from) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2Junaid Siddique, 3 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 4 Raqibul Hassan, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Naeem Islam, 8 Mahmudullah, 9 Masrafe Mortaza, 10 Mahbubul Alam, 11 Rubel Hossain.
Sri Lanka didn't name their 12 on the eve of the match. However, it's an opportunity to give every member of the squad a game before the final.
Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 5 Jehan Mubarak, 6 Chamara Kapugedera, 7 Angelo Mathews 8 Thilan Thushara, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Muttiah Muralitharan, 11 Ajantha Mendis
Stats and Trivia
"We have seen that a number of the batsmen have been getting out in the same manner repeatedly. Also, there is not enough support for someone who is well set and we would need a batsman or two to go on and play 50 overs."
Mortaza sums up Bangladesh's prime grey area.
"I am sure they have had a few things to worry about because it was a game they were expected to win. I am also pretty certain that they would want to come out strong because this is a must-win match for them."
Jayawardene on the effect of Bangladesh's early defeat to Zimbabwe.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi