By Shashank Kishore in Sylhet
Though they have fought hard at times, both teams have fallen well short of expectations for the most part
"It's another opportunity for us to go out there and win a game of cricket, an opportunity to set right the batting," said Shashikala Siriwardene, the Sri Lanka captain, when asked about the significance of its last Group B fixture against Bangladesh on Tuesday(April 1) at the Sylhet Divisional Stadium.
The importance of the fixture was very clearly highlighted in her words, for it's still a side in need of more exposure at the world stage.
The loss to England on Sunday consigned it to their second straight defeat and thereby shut out their semi-final aspirations. Therefore, there's hardly much at stake except recovering lost pride.
Also, Sri Lanka has managed scores of just 84 and 85 in its last two games, which could perhaps invite an opportunity to try the untried.
On current form, Sri Lanka looks like a one-woman army. Siriwardene's 52 runs in three innings is the team’s second highest aggregate, and considering that 38 of those runs came against England in the team's total of 85 for 9, the rest of the batting stands exposed. With the ball too, the story isn't any different. Siriwardene’s four wickets from three matches at an economy rate of less than six an over is by far the best in the team.
"That's an issue we have spoken about, it is time the others step up," she said. "We can’t be repeating mistakes over and over again. If we need to develop into a good side, we need at least five-six players delivering. That is clearly not happening. Hopefully we can finish on a good note going into the playoffs."
Sri Lanka's travails in the tournament give Bangladesh its best chance to pull off a win and give the home crowd, which has given it unconditional support, some joy. But a team that has managed just sub-hundred totals in the tournament so far doesn’t inspire much confidence.
"Maybe if we bat first it will be different," offered Jahanara Alam, the Bangladesh medium pacer.
The side fought admirably in its first outing against West Indies by restricting it below 120, but has been sent on a leather hunt against England and India. The scoreboard pressure has then weighed down their already fragile batting unit that has struggled to get off the blocks and thrown away wickets away to rash strokes.
Bangladesh can draw inspiration from its win over Sri Lanka at the Asian Games at Guangzhou in 2010, where it narrowly missed the gold medal after being pipped at the post by Pakistan. But deriving strength from history is, at most times, the last resort.
Bangladesh Women: Salma Khatun (capt), Jahanara Alam, Rumana Ahmed, Fargana Hoque, Ayasha Rahman, Lata Mondol, Sanjida Islam, Fahima Khatun, Panna Ghosh, Sharmin Akter, Nuzhat Tasnia (wk), Khadijatul Kubra, Shohaly Akther, Shamima Sultana, Saila Sharmin.
Sri Lanka Women: Shashikala Siriwardene (capt), Chamari Atapattu, Eshani Kaushalya, Deepika Rasangika, Sripali Weerakkody, Chandima Gunaratne, Chamari Polgampola, Rebeka Vandort (wk), Oshadi Ranasinghe, Hasini Perera, Yashoda Mendis, Maduri Samudikka, Udeshika Prabodhini, Nilakshi Silva.