Tigers seek maiden trophy
After remaining almost invincible in the tri-series group matches before the crushing defeat in the last league game, it will be interesting to see whether the Tigers will be able to overcome the pressure of never having won a tri-series and continue playing the fearless brand of cricket when they take on Sri Lanka in the final at the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium in Mirpur today.
There is no doubt that the 10-wicket defeat after being bundled out for just 82 runs on Thursday will have an Impact on the Tigers but the Bangladesh think tank will once again go out with the same aggressive approach this time, with some caution mixed in.
Tamim Iqbal's opening partner has been the biggest concern throughout the tournament as Anamul Haque was unable to utilise the opportunity, and the right-hander might have to pay the price in the final.
Despite Imrul Kayes being included in the squad for the final it was learned that another wicketkeeper-batsman, Mohammad Mithun, is likely to replace Anamul in the final even though he has not gotten a game in the series so far.
The seniors once again lifted the performance and morale of the side throughout the tournament but a continued over-reliance on them may backfire on the hosts.
Two of the most senior members, Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, have led from the front in all games except the last one, which saw a different Bangladesh team as none of the junior members were able to step up and take responsibility.
The middle order needs to fire as the experienced Mahmudullah Riyad continued his poor run against the Lankans in the series so far, while Nasir Hossain -- who has scored 11,3,0,2 and 3 in his last five innings -- was perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the new-look Tigers.
According to sources close to the team, there are likely to be three changes from the previous game -- Nasir is set to make way for off-spinning all-rounder Mehedi Hasan Miraz and pace bowling all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin is also expected to return in place of Abul Hasan who did not have a notable outing in the previous game.
Sri Lanka will all of a sudden find themselves in a much better situation after the commanding win. Chandika Hathurusingha will surely come up with a specific plan to upset the Tigers and they are expected to retain the team that won the last league game handsomely. One of the most crucial aspects, which will perhaps keep Sri Lanka guessing, will be the pitch in Mirpur which has had variable pace and bounce. It won't be surprising if the home side comes up with something out of the box when it comes to preparing the pitch.
However, as Mashrafe said before the start of the series, they will want to be smart but not over-smart when it comes to making strategies to surprise the opponent. Only time will tell who comes out with a smile in the end.