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Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI: Key players to watch out for

Bangladesh will look to salvage some pride when they take on Sri Lanka in the third and final ODI of the series at Colombo on Wednesday. The Tigers have already lost the series as they went down in the first two matches by massive margins of 91 runs and seven wickets respectively. They came into this series on the back of an inspirational performance in the World Cup but without Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh have been a pale shadow of their own.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have been flawless in  this series after enduring a rollercoaster ride in the World Cup. There have been some strong individual performances and all the players have worked in sync with each other to stitch up comprehensive victories. The Lions will be eager to complete a whitewash over the Bangladeshi Tigers by winning the final ODI. However, the wounded Tigers would also come hard at them as they would be eager to end this series on a positive note. The fate of both the teams this time will depend on some key players who have the ability to make an impact on the outcome of the match single-handedly. Let us take a look at them.

Sri Lanka

Angelo Mathews: The former Sri Lankan skipper struggled during the World Cup campaign but ended the tournament on a high with a century against India. It looks like he has carried his form forward into this series with scores of 48 and 52* in the first two matches. He is averaging 100 in this series so far and would be eyeing yet another big score in this match.

Kusal Perera: The left-handed keeper-batsman was Sri Lanka’s best batter during the World Cup. He showed consistency and aggression at the top of the order and has continued that in this series as well. He played a match-winning knock of 111 in the first ODI to set up a 91-run victory, and followed that up with a stroke-filled knock of 30 in the second ODI once again. He failed to convert his start into a big one in the previous match and that will push him to get a big score this time.

Avishka Fernando: The 21-year-old impressed everyone during his brief stint in the World Cup. And he has continued to do so even in this series. Although he failed to make an impression being dismissed for only seven runs in the first match, he made a terrific comeback in the second ODI with a 75-ball knock of 82 runs, an innings filled with nine fours and two sixes.

Bangladesh

Mushfiqur Rahim: Amidst Bangladesh’s batting ruins in this series, Rahim is the only name that stands tall. He scored 67 in the first match and followed that up with a fighting knock of 98* in the second ODI. Bangladesh might have lost both the matches but Rahim is the highest run-getter in the series with a total of 165 runs at an average of 165. Bangladesh will need him to maintain his superb form in the final ODI if they want to stand a chance of winning this match.

Mustafizur Rahman: Bangladesh’s ace pacer was one of the top wicket-takers in the World Cup and he has continued his wicket-taking spree in this series as well with four wickets in the two matches so far. However, he has been very expensive at the same time, having conceded runs at an overall economy rate of 6.94. It will benefit Bangladesh a lot if he can check his economy rate somehow in the final ODI.

Prasenjit Dey is freelance cricket journalist based out of Kolkata, India. Cricket runs through his veins and writing has always been his passion. He is now a part of both worlds, trying to make a difference by writing on the nitty-gritty of the game.

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