Lions and Tigers renew Cricket’s newest rivalry

 

With Cricket’s biggest competition ending in the most dramatic way one could imagine, the post-world cup 2019 era is set to begin with a quick series between Cricket’s freshest rivals, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. 

>> Sri Lanka v Bangladesh 2019 <<

If you look back just a decade, a Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh game wouldn’t have created much hype as the end result was pretty obvious with Sri Lanka being clear favourites. Even the records suggest so – the victory margins were very big.

From a team against whom Sri Lanka were happy to play a second-string team, to a team which can topple a full-strength Sri Lankan team, Bangladesh has come a very long way. One could easily overlook Bangladesh’s growth and only think of how low Sri Lanka has fallen. However, at the moment, both teams have a chance to clinch the series with Bangladesh holding a slight edge.

The 3-match series which is to begin this Friday (26th July) is something worth watching as it promises a lot of drama, just like when the two teams met in the Nidahas Trophy last year. The Asia Cup match between the two teams, even though it promised to be a thriller, ended up as a one-sided game with Sri Lanka facing a humiliating defeat. 

Read More: Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh ODI Series 2019 – Let’s talk Numbers

Ironically, Lasith Malinga who made his international comeback in that game after a lapse of almost 1 year, will be playing his last ODI when the two teams meet on the 26th. So not only Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis, the entire world will be interested in the match as one of the most loved Cricketers in World Cricket bids adieu to ODIs.  

So before we head in to the R. Premadasa for the thrilling contest, let’s take a look back on five of the best Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh matches the world has witnessed so far.

  1. Sri Lanka tour of Bangladesh 2006 – 2nd ODI (Bogra)

After 15 meetings over a span of two decades, Bangladesh were still to beat Sri Lanka in an international match when the two teams met in Bogra. The least margins of victory for Sri Lanka being 58 runs and 5 wickets during that period, suggest the level of domination from the Lions.

The 2nd ODI during Sri Lanka’s tour to Bangladesh in 2006 was also no different, as master blaster Sanath Jayasuriya started off things for Sri Lanka in his very own way, bashing the bowlers to all parts of the ground.

Jayasuriya kept on scoring, but the other end couldn’t fire as usual. Following Kumar Sangakkara’s wicket, whose 23 eventually became the 2nd best for Sri Lanka in that match, Bangladesh kept striking.

Despite Jayasuriya’s 97, Sri Lanka were bundled out for 212 in 49 overs. It was then the lowest total for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh. The lowest total they had defended successfully against the same opposition was 233 back in 1995.

The run-chase was well-paced and had no major hiccups as eventual Man of the Match, a 20-year-old Aftab Ahmed finished off the game with an unbeaten knock of 32 in just 21 balls. Crucial knocks from experienced opener Javed Omar, 22-year old Mohammad Ashraful and Captain Habibul Bashar stood out in Bangladesh’s historic win.

  1. Bangladesh Tri-Nation 2009 – Final (Dhaka)

The tri-nation series hosted by Bangladesh involving Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe saw Bangladesh in a must-win situation against a stronger opposition in Sri Lanka after they lost their first game to Zimbabwe. However, a shocking bonus-point win for Bangladesh ensured them a spot in the final against the same opposition.

With momentum on the hosts’ side, Sri Lanka had to play their best brand of cricket to clinch the series with a win in the final. Having said that, it seemed like it would be a cake walk for them after the first half of the game as Nuwan Kulasekara and Ajantha Mendis, sharing 6 wickets, wrecked the home team for a mere 152 runs. 

Read More : Malinga wants to retire with Kulasekara – Farewell or Reunion?

With one of the easiest targets to chase down to a batting order which had some all-time greats of the game like Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka were expected to cruise home. They were in for a rude shock however as they crumbled to 5 for the loss of 6 wickets.

Luckily for Sri Lanka, Kumar Sangakkara, the man for any crisis, was at the crease. He added two crucial half-century stands together with Jehan Mubarak and Farveez Maharoof before Shakib Al Hasan dismissed him, with Sri Lanka needing 38 runs in 6 overs.

The last player who was capable of handling the bat, Nuwan Kulasekara was also sent back two deliveries later, leaving Farveez Maharoof to do everything by himself. It was Muttiah Muralitharan who walked in next.

Sri Lanka won the match in the 49th over with Maharoof scoring just 1 run during the last partnership. Surprise, surprise, surprise. Muralitharan hammered 33 off just 16 balls with 4 boundaries and 2 sixes. Imagine the fun.

  1. Asia Cup 2014 (Dhaka)

This was in 2014, a golden year for Sri Lanka Cricket. They won the Asia Cup first and then went on to win an even bigger prize, the ICC World T20. On their way towards Asian glory, they had to play hosts Bangladesh in a dead rubber just before the final.

Bangladesh having lost all the games they had played in the tournament thus far were facing a Sri Lankan team which was unbeaten, a team that had beaten both India and Pakistan. As everyone expected, Sri Lanka restricted Bangladesh to a below par 204 and were looking all set to finish off the league stage unbeaten. 

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They lost Kusal Perera in the second ball of the innings. Sangakkara was gone for 2 and Jayawardene couldn’t score a single run. Ashan Priyanjan and in-form Lahiru Thirimanne perished after two good starts. It was left for skipper Angelo Mathews and the lower middle order.

It was Mathews’ year, it was his team, he was in his peak, how could he let the Bangladeshis beat him. He put on a brilliant show, guiding young Chathuranga de Silva (44) in a crucial 6th wicket stand of 72 runs to take Sri Lanka close.

Even the loss of hard-hitting Thisara Perera couldn’t stop Sri Lanka as Mathews single-handedly took them over the line after taking the game to the wire. A 12-run 49th over eventually sealed the deal for Sri Lanka and Mathews as they recorded yet another win in 2014. 

  1. Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka 2013 – 3rd ODI (Pallekele)

This match was in the first series Sri Lanka played under Mathews. Sri Lanka were already 1-0 up in the series. Following the wash-out in the 2nd ODI, the 3rd and final ODI was very important for both teams, Sri Lanka eyeing a series win while Bangladesh looked to square things off.

The Sri Lankan top 3 consisting of TM Dilshan, Kusal Perera and Kumar Sangakkara almost took the game away from Bangladesh with their attacking stroke play as the trio amassed 200 runs by the 35th over. Following Sangakkara’s dismissal it was all one-way traffic, suddenly. Dilshan on the other hand kept accumulating the runs and took Sri Lanka towards a competitive 302 while scoring 125 runs.

Abdur Razzak was brilliant for the Bangladeshis as he ended up picking up 5 wickets. His effort needed a meaning, Bangladesh had to win this. They started well, were going good as well. But, rain arrived when they were on 78/1 in 13.4 overs.

After a break of more than 2 hours, Bangladesh’s target was revised to 183 in 27 overs. So it was 105 off 13.2 overs from then onwards. Quite difficult against a team which had world renowned death bowlers in Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara backed by a smart Angelo Mathews and an in-form Sachithra Senanayake.

Remember Nasir Hossain? It was he who stood tall for Bangladesh, when the likes of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah failed. He kept on finding the fence every over until it came down to 17 runs in 2 overs. Mathews opted to keep Kulasekara for the last over and bowled Thisara Perera in the penultimate over. Hossain ended up needing just those 6 deliveries for the win, finishing unbeaten on 33 in 27 balls. 

  1. Sri Lanka tour of Bangladesh 2014 – 1st ODI

Sri Lanka were fresh after winning the Test and T20I series playing their first ODI in their long tour to Bangladesh (they played the Asia Cup and World T20 following the series – all in Bangladesh).

In just 21.3 overs, Sri Lanka were 8 wickets down for 67 runs and were looking like being bowled out for their lowest score against Bangladesh. It was not just one or two bowlers for the hosts, they were hunting in a pack.

Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Shakib, Shohag Gazi, Arafat Sunny – all picked up wickets and were looking in good rhythm. It was Thisara Perera and Sachithra Senanayake in the middle, put under tremendous pressure.

Sunny came out to bowl the 23rd. The batsmen collected two singles off the first couple of deliveries. Thisara on-strike thought ‘it was enough’. Smashed Sri Lanka’s first boundary in 38 deliveries.

The next ball, he was gone…. No! The ball was over for a six off the fielder’s hand. And then guess what happened in the next two deliveries? Two more sixes, this time struck cleanly. That was it, Thisara rescued Sri Lanka.

He added 81 runs for the 9th wicket with Senanayake before Shakib dismissed Senanayake for a 48-ball 30. But, there was no stopping for Thisara. He went on to add 31 more runs for the last wicket with Malinga who contributed 0 to the stand. Sri Lanka were eventually bowled out for a modest 180 in 40 overs with Thisara unbeaten on 80 (in just 57 balls).

Then it was Malinga’s turn, he provided the early breakthrough Sri Lanka needed with the 2nd ball of the innings. But, two lesser known names in world cricket then, Shamsur Rahman and Mominul Haque added 79 runs to make the Lankans sweat. 

Then Thisara Perera once again came to Sri Lanka’s rescue, dismissing Mominul to bring Sri Lanka back into the game. There was no turning back from then on as Sri Lanka toppled the Tigers for 167 runs in 39.2 overs. Captain Mathews grabbed 3 wickets including Mushfiqur’s while Shakib was run out by Malinga.

The coming series promises a lot and it’s going to be a very emotional one for the hosts as they will be determined to give the greatest death bowler of all time, Sri Lanka’s very own Lasith Malinga, a perfect send-off. Will Sri Lanka be able to reproduce some magic to see off Bangladesh? Time will tell.

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