Bangladesh will face Sri Lanka in a crucial Group B encounter in Asia Cup 2022 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday, with the loser of the match set to be knocked-out of contention for a Super Four spot.
Both teams lost their respective tournament openers to Afghanistan and find themselves in must-win territory heading into Thursday’s match. But the tension has been further raised after some sharp comments from both camps ahead of the game.
It started with Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka playing down Bangladesh’s bowling attack after his team lost to Afghanistan. In the post-match press conference, he said “if we compare with Afghanistan, Bangladesh is an easier opponent.”
“Afghanistan has a world-class bowling attack. We know Fizz (Mustafizur Rahman) is a good bowler. Shakib (Al Hasan) is a world-class bowler. But apart from them, there is no world-class bowler in the side,” Shanaka had said.
Bangladesh, of course, didn’t take kindly to Shanaka’s comments and on Wednesday, their team director Khaled Mahmud shared some critical views on the Sri Lankan team.
“It’s upto Dasun, why he said that or why he thinks we are (easier opponent),” said Mahmud in the pre-match press conference.
“Maybe Afghanistan has a better T20 squad, that’s why he said that. He said a lot of other things as well, he said we have only two (world-class) bowlers or something. I don’t see any in Sri Lanka, at least Bangladesh have two. That’s very good. We have at least Mustafizur and Shakib, I don’t think they have world-class bowlers like them It’s about how you play the game that matters. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Finally, former Sri Lanka captain and legendary batter Mahela Jayawardena also weighed in on the matter. “ Looks like it’s time for @OfficialSLC bowlers to show the class and batters to show who they are on the field,” he wrote on Twitter.
The winner of the match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will join India and Afghanistan, who are both undefeated having played two games each, in the Super Four stage. The final slot will go to the winner between Pakistan and Hong Kong in Group A.