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Shanaka ups the ante, says SL a better side and their chances slightly better

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Sharjah, Oct 24 (IANS) Sri Lanka would be hoping to capitalise on the momentum gained during the qualifying stages when they take on Bangladesh in their opening ‘Super 12’ game of the ICC T20 World Cup at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium later on Sunday.

Sri Lanka qualified for the ‘Super 12’ stage after winning all three games in the group stage and skipper Dasun Shanaka said that this will give his side the edge going into the opener against Bangladesh, who were rattled by debutants Scotland in the group stage.

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Shanaka also said that Sri Lanka were a “better side” and that their chances of beating Bangladesh are “slightly better”.

“They (Bangladesh) are sitting good at the moment because after winning those qualifiers, they are on a winning momentum. It’s good for them, but still, we’ve got a better side, I think. We have a slightly better chance,” said Shanaka ahead of the clash between the two continental sides.

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Shanaka said that if his team could play to their strengths, there is no reason why Sri Lanka cannot win, adding that Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and skipper Mahmudulah would be the key players for the rivals.

“If we play to our strengths, we’ll be good. There are some very good players (in) Shakib and Mahmudullah (in the Bangladesh side).”

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The inclusion of Sri Lankan great Mahela Jayawardene as the team mentor had given the side a “positive impact”, said Shanaka.

“Yeah, it’s a real good investment to the boys, mostly to the youngsters. They gained a lot of experience from him and a lot of advice. It was really nice to have Mahela in the dressing room. It makes it easier for me as a captain, as well.”

Contrary to pre-tournament predictions, a relatively inexperienced Sri Lankan team has given a good account of itself, especially their pace bowlers, and Shanaka said the appreciation is well taken.

“It’s a simple message. The boys have done well, and they have shown their skills, and they have shown what they really can do in this tournament. They have made their mark in this tournament already, so every team has to have a close look at them, so it’s really good for us,” he said.

He said that the bowling strategy could change given the turning track in Sharjah.

“Yeah, there might be a slight chance that spinners rather than fast bowlers (could be more effective) because the wicket has been used in the IPL games as well. We are looking especially at this. Going forward, we have good players and hope to have a good match,” he added.

–IANS

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