After coasting through their first three games, reality hit hard for Sri Lanka following their 33-run defeat to Pakistan at the Wanderers. Their batting, particularly the lower order, was tested and Pakistan emerged deserved victors. Now at third position in Group F, Sri Lanka will be expected to come out blazing against Bangladesh and improve their standing. For Bangladesh, inconsistency has been their biggest worry and after being tamed by Australia, they find themselves at square one. Their batting needs to click again and would do well to learn a few lessons from Pakistan.
Bat Play Bangladesh's top order has been unpredictable at best, especially after Australia managed to keep them quiet in Cape Town. Their strategy of going for boundaries alone cost them dearly in their last two games, with scores of 144 and 123. The Australians spotted their weakness and ensured that they didn't give them too much width. Bangladesh haven't tinkered with their batting line-up and it's unlikely whether the newcomers at the bench will be given a go against Sri Lanka. However, they're returning to the venue where they demolished West Indies and the batsmen have rarely put a foot wrong there.
Sanath Jayasuriya's early fall against Pakistan had a psychological effect on the team as they were used to such good starts. Chamara Silva and Tillakaratne Dilshan were the only positives in Sri Lanka's reply and the fact that they had an opportunity to spend time in the middle should stand the team in good stead.
Wrecking ball: Bangladesh's bowlers had nothing to write home about against Australia as none managed to pick up any wickets. Mashrafe Mortaza is a big worry after three wicketless games, Syed Rasel got blasted for 25 off his two overs in the previous games and Farhad Reza has contributed little. Ziaur Rahman, the right-arm seamer, could be tried out. Alok Kapali is probably still hanging onto his place for his experience alone and he is yet to make an impression.
Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernando have managed to pull things in Sri Lanka's favour during the Powerplay, restricting the runs and picking up early wickets. However, Jayasuriya's nightmare spell, in which he conceded 64 off his four overs, helped Pakistan take the initiative. Gayan Wijekoon hasn't done much to support the seniors so a case can be made for Farveez Maharoof to get a game.
Keep your eye on: Dilhara Fernando. He has the ability to hit the deck hard and get the ball to kick off a good length. The Australians successfully adopted this tactic against Bangladesh and Fernando is the best bet among the seamers to execute this. Against New Zealand and Pakistan, he stood out and his inswinging yorker to get rid of Mohammad Hafeez indicated the variations in his bowling.
Pitching it right: At the Wanderers, there are three things to expect - runs, runs and runs. As New Zealand showed against India, spinners are the best bet to keep the runs down and nag away at the middle order and Daniel Vettori's experience came into play. Pakistan had Shahid Afridi to lead the way so expect the spinners from both sides to carry the workload.
Sri Lanka (probable) Upul Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Chamara Silva, Jehan Mubarak, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando
Bangladesh (probable) Tamim Iqbal, Nazimuddin, Aftab Ahmed, Mohammad Ashraful (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Alok Kapali, Ziaur Rahman, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Rasel, Abdur Razzak