The tri-series got just what it needed - Bangladesh in the final. With all due respect to Zimbabwe, the team with the more commanding head-to-head record between them in recent times was expected from the very beginning to meet Sri Lanka in the final. The winter was threatening to succumb to another season of discontentment for local fans before Shakib Al Hasan's hair-raising assault
against the Sri Lankans on Wednesday gave his team the chance to fight another day. Sri Lanka were jolted in a fog-curtailed match and that result will force them to approach tomorrow's final with a slightly different mindset.
Their batting was a let-down, save for Sanath Jayasuriya's half-century on Tuesday. Both Upul Tharanga and Kumar Sangakkara made ducks while the captain Mahela Jayawardene - despite scoring 28 - is yet to shrug off his dip in form in ODIs
. His recent performances reflect those of the top order which has lacked consistency in their recent games.
Jayawardene, however, felt there was no need to panic. "As I had said before, considering the challenges I think they did a good job. We had one bad game after a long time. This can happen in cricket. We just need to pull our socks up. We have quality players and I am sure that they will be up and ready for the big match."
Sri Lanka are still favourites to take the title but the opposition is high on confidence. That the match was reduced to 31 overs actually worked to Bangladesh's advantage as they have shown more potential in the past in the shorter versions. Though they faced lesser overs of spin than normal, they refused to allow themselves be dominated by Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis. The question is whether they can repeat their heroics in a full 50-over game, if the weather permits.
"We realise that tomorrow we have a genuine chance if we do the processes right and stick to the game plan," Mohammad Ashraful, the Bangladesh captain, said on the eve of the game. "All of us want this year to be a big year for Bangladesh cricket."