Last chance for Sri Lanka as Bangladesh loom large in pivotal encounter


Monday 6 November, Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi

Injuries to key players has hurt Sri Lanka's World Cup campaign, but the Island nation can still qualify for the semi-finals with victories over Bangladesh and New Zealand over the next week.

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They will also need a host of other results to fall their way, but for now all they can concentrate on is registering a third win of the tournament by defeating fellow Asian side Bangladesh.

Bangladesh's sole victory at the World Cup came in their opening fixture against Afghanistan in Dharamsala and six straight losses since that match has left Shakib Al Hasan's side without any hope of qualifying for the semi-finals.

They do still have plenty to play though and will be keen to put a dent in Sri Lanka's chances by picking up their second triumph of what has been a disappointing campaign.

Veterans Litton Das, Mahmudullah and Shakib will be relied upon to score freely for Bangladesh, while Sri Lanka will look to the likes of Pathum Nissanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama and skipper Kusal Mendis to get going with the bat.

Spin is likely to be a major factor in this clash, with Shakib to lead Bangladesh's slow bowling attack and players in the ilk of Maheesh Theekshana and Dunith Wellalage sure to be prominent for Sri Lanka.

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Opener Litton Das out to lead Bangladesh to a strong finish at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023

**Bangladesh squad:**Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Kumer Das, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Najmul Hossain Shanto (vc), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib.

**Sri Lanka squad:**Kusal Mendis (c), Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka, Dushmantha Chameera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Angelo Mathews, Dilshan Madushanka, Dushan Hemantha, Chamika Karunaratne.

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Bangladesh - Shakib Al Hasan

The Bangladesh veteran started the World Cup in sensational style with a three-wicket haul against Afghanistan, but hasn't quite been at his best since and has only managed a total of seven wickets from six matches at the tournament thus far.

A pair of scores in the 40s has been his best effort with the bat during that run and the experienced skipper will be keen to improve his output against Sri Lanka.

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Shakib Al Hasan bowled Jonny Bairstow to pull back England's fast start at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023

Sri Lanka - Kusal Mendis

Mendis looked to be in superb touch earlier in the tournament as he added to his tremendous 158 against Afghanistan during the warm-up fixtures by hitting an excellent knock of 122 against Pakistan in Hyderabad.

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Quick thinking from Sri Lanka skipper sent back Adil Rashid to the pavilion.

It's all been downhill for the stand-in Sri Lanka captain since then, who has managed just one score in excess of 11 - he contributed 39 against Afghanistan in Pune - as the Asian side almost slipped out of contention for a semi-final berth.

If Sri Lanka are to stay in the race for the semis then Mendis needs to find his best form, and quickly.

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