Sri Lanka hope to put travel nightmare behind them in T20 World Cup clash with Bangladesh

Islanders look to bounce back from heavy defeat to South Africa in opening match

Powered by automated translation

After a woeful start to their T20 World Cup campaign, Sri Lanka will be under immense pressure when they face Bangladesh in a must-win game at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday.

They were shot out for a record low score of 77 in their tournament opener against South Africa at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York after what was a chaotic build-up to the tournament.

That result came on the back of a torrid itinerary that has left Sri Lanka bedraggled and underprepared. Sri Lanka are one of two nations that have been asked to play their first-round matches at four different venues. The Netherlands are the other, out of the 20 participating teams.

Wanindu Hasaranga’s men played their two warm-up matches in Florida and had to travel for their opening World Cup game to New York, where they encountered a flight delay of over seven hours.

They were supposed to arrive in New York by 8pm on Friday, but eventually touched down at 5am the following morning, and as a result were forced to cancel their scheduled morning batting practice session.

Adding to their struggles, the team was booked in a hotel in downtown Brooklyn, around an hour and a half from the match venue. The significant distance resulted in travel fatigue and affected their performance.

Sri Lanka also had to depart for Dallas immediately after their match against South Africa, leaving them with no rest period and further disrupting their recovery cycle.

The early morning schedule of matches, done to cater to the South Asian audiences, has turned travel into a logistical nightmare for the team.

What has irked the islanders is other teams have been accommodated in lodgings closer to the venues and get to play their games at the same venue.

Sri Lanka – alongside South Africa and Ireland – have reportedly filed complaints with the International Cricket Council regarding the below-par organisation and logistical planning, but that is likely to be of little help at this point.

Despite all their troubles, Sri Lanka have an important match to contend with. They take on Bangladesh on another surface that’s new to them. Despite the odds stacked against them, this is a game they have to win to keep their Super Eight hopes alive; only the top two teams from each of the four groups progress to the next stage.

At least Sri Lanka have now had five days to recover and reflect on their loss.

While the pressure is on them, they can take a lot of positives from their bowling performance against South Africa as they made the Proteas fight for every run.

The Sri Lankan top order will have a point to prove against the Tigers and one can expect them to go on the attack up front.

Angelo Mathews, the former captain, insisted they had already put the opening result and travel chaos behind them.

“We must win the remaining games (Bangladesh, Nepal and the Netherlands) if we have to qualify for the next round, and taking one game at a time, the one that’s coming up is the most important for us at this moment,” he told Asia Mirror.

“The last four, five days have been chaotic for us with training and preparation disrupted by travel issues. We landed in New York very early in the morning after a flight delay of more than seven hours but we don’t want to make that an excuse for the defeat to South Africa.

“We are a side that have overcome such issues previously and won matches and we are hopeful of doing that again. We have no control over the off-field problems but we can perform better on the pitch and win this all-important game to stay on course for the next round in the tournament.”

South Africa are the top side in the group with Bangladesh as Sri Lanka’s next strongest opponents in the group that also includes Nepal and the Netherlands.

Updated: June 07, 2024, 8:44 AM