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Bangladesh’s Najmul Hossain Shanto said it was critical to 'play as a team', noting that big wins last year were because 'everyone contributed'. Image Credit: AFP

Sylhet, Bangladesh: Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto said on Sunday he wanted his team to use the three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka to perfect the format ahead of the World Cup in June.

The series, which opens Monday in Sylhet, marks the start of Sri Lanka’s month-long tour of Bangladesh, which also includes three one-day internationals and two Tests.

Najmul said it was critical to “play as a team”, noting that big wins last year were because “everyone contributed”.

Bangladesh have never defeated Sri Lanka in a Twenty20 series.

Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood said he was expecting a “very competitive series between two good sides”.

Keep the momentum going

Bangladesh defeated world champions England 3-0 at home in 2023, and also won series against Ireland and Afghanistan, before drawing a three-match series 1-1 against New Zealand.

Najmul said he wanted to keep the momentum going into the World Cup, hosted this year by the United States and the West Indies.

“Last year, we did well in T20s, and I think we have improved in T20s,” Najmul told reporters.

“If we can improve ... then hopefully we will be able to compete with anyone in any condition.”

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are both in Group D for the World Cup, along with South Africa, Nepal and the Netherlands.

“It is very important that we play eight or 11 matches before going to the World Cup,” Najmul said.

“If we take these matches ... and decide how we want to play in the World Cup, then it will be easy to plan,” he said.

The World Cup is a key focus of Sri Lanka too.

“Obviously, we’re now in the build-up to what is an important competition in the World Cup,” Silverwood said

“What we have to do ... is concentrate on what’s in front of us and remember what we’re aiming for.”

The second and third T20 matches will be held on March 6 and 9, both also at Sylhet.