Bangladesh vs. Sri Lanka: Key Lessons Learned from Final Asia Cup Group Game

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2014

Bangladesh’s Rubel Hossain jumps as he celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene during the Asia Cup one-day international cricket tournament in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)
A.M. Ahad/Associated Press

Sri Lanka kept their unbeaten record in the 2014 Asia Cup as they narrowly defeated hosts Bangladesh in the final group game of the tournament, winning by three wickets.

Bangladesh finished up an unsatisfactory tournament, having lost all four of their group games, and will go away disappointed—especially considering their home advantage.

After a strong start, Bangladesh could only score 204-9 from their 50 overs and, despite a shaky start from Sri Lanka, a confident 74 not out from Angelo Mathews contributed to a successful chase with one over to spare.

With Sri Lanka now heading into the final against Pakistan and Bangladesh looking forward to the World Twenty20 in two weeks, the key lessons from each side are examined below.


Sri Lanka have strength in depth

It was not the likes of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene that led Sri Lanka to this victory; rather, it was an obstinate middle-order performance and significant runs from Mathews and Chaturanga de Silva, who scored 44.

It is daunting for other ODI sides to see that even when Sri Lanka's top order don't fire they have the quality to win anyway.

A slightly ragged pitch made batting hard work in this game, but Sri Lanka's middle order dug in impressively after a terrible start saw them slump to 8-3. This ability to steady the ship may well be key when they face Pakistan on Saturday.

Captain Mathews did the job for them today but Sri Lanka will be hoping the likes of Jayawardene, who is in a prolonged patch of poor form, can perform in their next outing.

Further to their batting depth is the fact that the rested Lasith Malinga was barely missed as Suranga Lakmal bowled impressively at the death.


Bangladesh need to improve their batting

The hosts undeniably underperformed in this tournament and must turn their form around. They are no longer the new-boys of international cricket having been around for some time now, and this experience should show.

Granted, they were unlucky to lose to Pakistan after posting 326 from their 50 overs but their performance in losing to Afghanistan was poor with their batting line-up unable to really trouble the 254 set by their opponents.

A.M. Ahad/Associated Press

Similarly against Sri Lanka the target they set was nowhere near big enough and although their bowlers did their best to prevent the loss they were in a tough situation.

There were positives to be taken from the Sri Lanka clash, however, with their openers Anamul Haque and Shamsur Rahman putting on 74 for the first wicket.

Haque looked particularly good falling just one shy of his fifty and his abilities will be vital when the World Twenty20 comes around.

And it will be at that tournament when they must show more quality. Being the hosts, the least they will want to do is make it through to the Super 10 group stage.