Sri Lanka face a must-win clash against Zimbabwe in the second-leg of the tri-series at Dhaka on Sunday. Sri Lanka had lost the last two clashes against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and face a do-or-die clash against the former in the second leg. If Zimbabwe win the clash, they will play the final against Bangladesh. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe clash.
Sri Lanka strengths:
Quality batsmen: Sri Lanka have Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Thisara Perera in the ranks and they should have it easy in the last two matches. But they lost a close encounter against Zimbabwe by 12 runs and were demolised by Bangladesh by 163 runs in the last match. It’s time for the batsmen to rise and be counted. Otherwise, they will have to kiss the final goodbye. Sri Lankan cricketers will be eyeing revenge against Zimbabwe after the narrow 12-loss to them in the last clash.
Losing momentum: When you keep losing, it becomes a habit. And Sri Lanka had developed this nagging habit. They are losing from winning positions. Otherwise, how you explain their 12-run loss to Zimbabwe when at one stage they looked to be cruising in the match? Sri Lanka need to be ruthless in their approach to shut out opposition.
In-form batsmen: Zimbabwe scored 290/6 in the clash against Sri Lanka, with Hamilton Masakadza and Sikandar Raza scoring match-winning fifties. It was Raza’s second fifty of the tournament. The batting rests on these two batsmen and they would once again look to knock out Sri Lanka out of the match and the tri-series.
Shaky top-order: Except for Masakadza as opener, Zimbabwe’s top-order looks bit vulnerable to quality bowling. They were reduced to 51/4 in the clash against Bangladesh. And they did not fare that well against Sri Lanka in the last clash. Hence, Zimbabwe need to make amends and their top-order needs to take more responsibility.
Prediction: Zimbabwe have punched above the waist in the last clash against Sri Lanka, edging past the islanders by 12 runs. Sri Lanka would come hard at Zimbabwe following their embarrassing 12-run loss to a lower-ranked Zimbabwe. Our vote goes to Sri Lanka as they are a much better team than Zimbabwe.
Winner: Sri Lanka