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Mustafizur Rahman

Bangladesh look to bounce back after Test series reversal

Ban v SL, 1st T20I, preview

Sri Lanka will hope to continue their good run after winning the triangular ODI series and the low-scoring Test match in Dhaka.


Bangladesh v Sri Lanka

Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Mirpur
1st Twenty20 International
Thursday 15 February; 17:00 local time, 11:00 GMT

After losing to Sri Lanka in the final of the triangular one-day international series and then losing 1-0 in the two-Test series against the same opponents, Bangladesh have the two-match Twenty20 International series now to re-establish some of their authority.

Coming off a massive 215-run win in a low-scoring second and final Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka, Sri Lanka will seek to extend their dominance at the same venue in the first T20I on Thursday (15 February). Interestingly, Sri Lanka, like Bangladesh, are without their first-choice captain: Angelo Mathews and Shakib Al Hasan are both recovering from injuries. While Mathews has been out of action because of a hamstring injury, Shakib, who has not sufficiently recovered from a finger injury, is expected to return to the side for the second T20I.

Sri Lanka will be led by Dinesh Chandimal, their Test captain who last featured in a T20I against South Africa in January last year. A lot will depend on his ability to steady the innings alongside Upul Tharanga, with the likes of Niroshan Dickwella doing the big hitting. Sri Lanka have also found a replacement for the injured Kusal Perera in Kusal Mendis, who is coming off a good run, including a career-best 196 in Chittagong, in the Test series.

Kusal Mendis has been rewarded for a good run in the Test series by being picked as Kusal Perera's replacement
Kusal Mendis has been rewarded for a good run in the Test series by being picked as Kusal Perera's replacement

In the bowling department, they have Jeevan Mendis, the leg-spinning all-rounder who last played a T20I when he turned out against South Africa in 2013. Sri Lanka have a mix of young talented spinners too in Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay and Amila Aponso. And with Suranga Lakmal rested, young pacers Asitha Fernando and Shehan Madushanka, who picked up a hat-trick on his international debut in the triangular series final which Sri Lanka won, have been given a chance.

However, all-rounder Asela Gunaratne was injured on the morning of the first T20I and will take no further part in the series. He sustained an injury in his right arm during one of the fielding drills and will return to Colombo for an MRI scan. His rehabilitation process will begin thereafter.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, will be guided by Mahmudullah, and have a host of newcomers in their side. They have four uncapped players in Abu Jahed Rahi, Ariful Haque, Zakir Hasan and Afif Hossain. Bangladesh will rely on the experience of Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman and Mahmudullah in the batting department, while Mustafizur Rahman will lead the bowling unit, which also has Rubel Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin and Abu Hider Rony, who is back in the squad after last turning out for Bangladesh at the ICC World T20 2016.

Sri Lanka hold a good record against Bangladesh in T20Is, having won five of the seven head-to-head encounters, but, importantly, Bangladesh have won their only face-off in Dhaka, in February 2016 during the Asia Cup.

Key players

Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh): Known for his incisive death bowling, the 22-year old paceman is one of the best in the shortest format of the game even if he has been a little below his best since coming back after a shoulder surgery. In 17 T20Is, Rahman has 27 wickets at an average of 14.92 with an economy rate of 6.16. The Sri Lankans will be watching out for his famous off-cutters, while he will hope to strike early and strike late with them.

Thisara Perera has a game perfectly suited to the shortest format and can be counted upon to make a difference
Thisara Perera has a game perfectly suited to the shortest format and can be counted upon to make a difference

Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka): The all-rounder's presence in the lower middle-order provides depth to Sri Lanka's batting. He is capable of hitting the ball long and hard and is a reliable finisher. He also provides his team with an extra bowling option, making him a valuable asset. In his 66 T20Is, Thisara has taken 48 wickets to go with 794 runs. 


Sri Lanka have had a good run in Bangladesh, but though they won the Test in Dhaka last week, the pitch for the T20I should be different from the extravagantly spin-friendly one used for the longer game. That said, when T20Is were last held at the venue, during the Asia Cup 2016, the matches were low-scoring affairs too. The weather forecast is promising, with the temperature expected to hover around 22°C in the evening.


Bangladesh: Mahmudullah (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Abu Haider Rony, Abu Jahed Rahi, Ariful Haque, Mehidy Hasan, Zakir Hasan, Afif Hossain, Nazmul Islam Apu.

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Thisara Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana, Shehan Madushanka, Jeffrey Vandersay, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Jeevan Mendis, Asitha Fernando.

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