Bangladesh Vs Sri Lanka Preview, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, Match 38: Uncertainty Looms Due To Severe Air Pollution In Delhi

Delhi facing severe air pollution, causing serious health problems. It may hinder the clash between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: Bangladesh vs Netherlands

The notorious air pollution in the national capital has shrouded the World Cup clash between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in doubt and it remains to be seen if the health of the players takes precedence over the contest, on Monday. A thick layer of toxic haze has enveloped the national capital once again, forcing the two teams to cancel their training at least once as Air Quality Index (AQI) remains in the severe category. (Match Blog | ScorecardStreaming | Key Battles | Full Coverage)

While Sri Lanka decided to stay indoors on Saturday, Bangladesh braved hazardous conditions to train last evening, wearing masks at the Feroz Shah Kotla. The 'Tigers' had cancelled their opening training session on Friday due to poor quality air. The AQI is above 400-mark on a scale of 500 since Thursday and according to the Air Quality Early Warning System, it is likely to remain 'severe' till Tuesday.

On Sunday morning, the AQI stood at 457 according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).  The International Cricket Council (ICC) has made it clear that a call on future of the match will be taken only on game day when the match officials assess the air quality on Monday. Article 2.8 of ICC's playing conditions, says "If at any time the umpires together agree that the conditions of ground, weather or light, or any other circumstances are dangerous or unreasonable, they shall immediately suspend play, or not allow play to start or to recommence." 

"The decision as to whether conditions are so bad as to warrant such action is one for the umpires alone to make, following consultation with the ICC Match Referee." Both the teams are no strangers to such a situation with the Sri Lankan players resorting to masks during a Test series back in 2017 and Bangladesh cricketers doing the same in a T20 in 2019.

A number of Sri Lankan players had faced respiratory issues back then, while some even vomited in the dressing room due to the hazardous conditions. Bangladesh are already out of reckoning, while Sri Lanka's semifinal hopes are hanging by a thread, depending more on mathematics and luck than performance. Ranked ninth out of 10 teams, Bangladesh are playing for pride, while Sri Lanka are little better placed at seventh in the standings and will look to hold on to the position to qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan.

Sri Lanka have an overwhelming 42-9 record against Bangladesh in 53 ODIs but the Tigers had defeated the Islanders in the warm-up game ahead of the World Cup and will take inspiration from that win. Sri Lanka are coming into the match after facing a nightmare against Indian pacers, who bundled them out for 55 during a 302-run thrashing and Kusal Mendis and his men will have to pick themselves up quickly against an equally hurt Tigers.

While injuries have been an issue, Lankan players have also faltered against high-quality opponents and Bangladesh will have to produce a superlative performance to exploit their weakness. Sadeera Samarawickrama has been the find of the tournament for the Lankans, who have been served well by Pathum Nissanka and skipper Kusal Mendis in their batting from time to time though they lacked consistency. In bowling too, Lankan pacers have blown hot and cold, while lack of key spinners have hurt the team.

For Bangladesh, it has been a forgettable outing as they have managed just one win against Afghanistan in the tournament. A chaotic build-up and lack of form of their players have seen them succumbing to their sixth successive loss and become the first team to be eliminated from the World Cup following a defeat to Pakistan in their last game.

Their batters have not been able to build partnerships, while the bowlers too have failed to stop the run flow or take wickets, leaving even skipper Shakib Al Hasan bereft of any answers.


Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Das (wk), Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Najmul Hossain Shanto (vc), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib

Sri Lanka: Kusal Mendis (c&wk), Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka, Lahiru Kumara, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Angelo Mathews, Dilshan Madushanka, Dushan Hemantha, Chamika Karunaratne.

Match starts 2:00PM IST.