BRISTOL   -   Both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are on a slippery slope. They have won one out of their first three games, and potentially need to win five of their remaining six. Sri Lanka are in a slightly better position, as opposed to their opponents, with one of their games, against Pakistan, getting washed out without a ball bowled, giving them an extra point.

Sri Lanka were routed against New Zealand, but incredibly bounced back against Afghanistan. That was largely down to their fast bowlers, with Nuwan Pradeep and Lasith Malinga snaring seven wickets between them. Pradeep has been ruled out of this clash, with a dislocated right finger, but it is with the batting that the more pressing issues lie at the moment, with a total of 337 runs having been scored across two games, for the loss of 20 wickets.

Bangladesh have much to be proud of from their campaign so far. They were routed in their previous game, against the tournament hosts England, but competed brilliantly before that, against two tough opponents in New Zealand and South Africa, beating the latter and pushing the former to the brink. They have shown the ability to score runs and pick up wickets. All they need is a little more consistency, and an ability to come out of the crucial junctures of the game on top, and they could go a long way in this World Cup.

Shakib Al Hasan is comfortably leading the tournament run charts, with two fifties and a century in three games so far. He has also snared three wickets, making him Bangladesh’s undisputed MVP.

Kusal Mendis’ World Cup party is yet to start, having returned a duck and 2 in his two outings so far. Mendis is Sri Lanka’s most temperamentally sound batsman. He has proven his big-match credentials in the past, and Sri Lanka need runs from him soon, to move up the ladder into a more comfortable position.

The form of Angelo Mathews is a concern. He has two ducks from two innings and although he scored runs in the warm-up match against South Africa, his team needs far more from one of their experienced players, particularly given the exasperating decision to leave Dinesh Chandimal, one of their best batsmen, at home. Captain Dimuth Karunaratne has put his head down and Kusal Perera played a decent hand against Afghanistan but aside from those two, the rest of the order has been woeful. The foundations of Sri Lanka’s batting are non-existent.

For all their good work so far this tournament, Bangladesh need a victory. The defeat of South Africa seems a while ago now and to retain realistic ambitions of a semi-final berth, they need to be beating teams like Sri Lanka. After defeats against two of the stronger teams in the tournament, they will certainly not want a washout against one of the weaker sides which could be on the cards given the dire forecast.

The recent head-to-head between the two sides has been more even than their respective merits might suggest. They played each other four times last year, winning two apiece. In the Asia Cup in September, their last meeting, Bangladesh hammered Sri Lanka with Mushfiqur Rahim scoring a century. But in three matches in a tri-series at the start of 2018, Sri Lanka doled out a couple of hammerings of their own. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then though and given the teams’ respective recent form, a Sri Lankan victory would be a stunning reversal.

An extremely rainy day is expected in Bristol, with chances of showers peaking early morning, in the hours leading up to the match. While they slightly lower during scheduled playing hours, they are still strong enough to make for a stop-start day.