Sri Lankan opener Upal Tharanga said on Wednesday that the two-match Twenty20 series against hosts Bangladesh would be crucial for them to get back on track in the shortest format of the game.
The first Twenty20 international match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be held at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium today. The second match of the series will be held in Sylhet on February 18.
The islanders are on a high after winning the tri-series one-day tournament as well as the two-Test series 1-0 against the hosts.
But their recent performance in the shortest format of the game is quite dissatisfactory as they lost all their last eight Twenty20 matches.
So, if they lose the series against the Tigers, the islanders would be down to number nine in the ICC rankings from eight.
They started last year with two back-to-back Twenty20 series wins over South Africa and Australia.
But since then the islanders lost their way as they could only draw a home series against the Tigers and lost three consecutive series afterwards – twice against India and once against Pakistan.
The 33-year old southpaw also said that by winning the Twenty20 series they would like to finish their over-a month-long Bangladesh tour on a high.
‘This series is also very important for us as a team. We haven’t been consistent in the last one-and-a-half to two years. We’ve got the hoping to finish the series very well,’ Tharanga told reporters in Mirpur.
‘We feel that we’ve got the momentum - especially having won ODIs and Tests. Our confidence is really high,’ he added.
Sri Lanka included few inexperienced players like left-arm spinner Amila Aponsoto, right-arm pacer duo Asitha Fernando and Shehan Madushanka in their Twenty20 squad.
Tharanga claimed that the inclusion of fresh blood in the team and the success in the tri-nation and Test series would help them to carry on their momentum in the Twenty20 series.
‘We have done well so far, in the one day tournament and the Test series also. We have confidence. We’ve got new faces for the T20. We’ve got good momentum. We want to carry that forward. Everyone is looking forward to it,’ he added.
Tharanga also revealed that both the sides were quite familiar with each other as a good number of Sri Lankan players played in the recent Bangladesh Premier League.
‘If you take our team, a few of the players have been playing BPL. We’ve got an idea of how they are doing. They are new to the side and have done well during the BPL. We have seen a few videos about them. We’ve got an idea about them,’ added Thranga.
‘We’ve played with a few Bangladeshi players, so we know what they are capable of. It’s going to help both sides. They also know what we can do.’
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