Asia Cup 2018: Match 1, Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, Preview- Tournament underdogs in a race for supremacy

Asia Cup 2018: Match 1, Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, Preview- Tournament underdogs in a race for supremacy

Bangladesh are yet to win an international match in the UAE out of five attempts.

Soumya Sarkar Bangladesh
Bangladesh. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

After all the hype surrounding the multi-nation event, the 2018 Asia Cup is set to get underway with the match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. This will also be the first instance when Shakib Al Hasan and Co will play an international match in Dubai. The Tigers recently won the limited-overs series against the Windies and are brimming with confidence.

However, they are yet to win a tournament, consisting of three or more teams., which also includes the Asia Cup. Back in 2012 and 2016, they qualified for the final but missed out by slender margins to Pakistan and India respectively. Their players have been involved in quite a few undesired controversies of late, but they wouldn’t want the incidents to affect them mentally on the park by any means.

The Lankans on the contrary, have played five One Dayers in Dubai out of which they have won two. The team has already been jolted by injuries to a couple of batsmen. Moreover, they also lost their last ODI series against South Africa, but the fact that they won the last two matches in the series is likely to keep Angelo Mathews and Co in good stead ahead of their opening encounter.

Team Combination

Bangladesh

Bangladesh are likely to retain a chunk of their players from their previous win against the Windies, barring Sabbir Rahman and Anamul Haque, who haven’t been included in the squad. Mohammad Mithun, who played his last ODI earlier this year, is likely to be drafted in place of Sabbir. Liton Das is the replacement of Haque and will open along with Tamim Iqbal.

The middle-order isn’t short of experience with the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah in their ranks. Mashrafe Mortaza, as the captain, needs to shoulder responsibility. Rubel Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman are the genuine fast bowlers. Mehidy Hasan, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, and Mahmudullah Riyad are the spin bowling options.

Predicted XI

Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Mohammad Mithun, Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman

Sri Lanka

As far as the Lankans are concerned, they may rope in experienced fast-bowler Lasith Malinga, who hasn’t played an international game for the last one year. Niroshan Dickwella, who came in place of the injured Dinesh Chandimal, will get a game in all probability. The wicketkeeper-batsman is likely to open the batting with another left-handed batsman in Upul Tharanga.

Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera come in at number three and four respectively. The experience of Angelo Mathews also needs to come to the fore. Thisara Perera is slotted to bat at number seven. Dasun Shanaka, apart from being a lethal speedster, has the ability to smack the leather a fair distance. Suranga Lakmal is the other pacer along with tweaker Akila Dananjaya.

Predicted XI

Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews (C), Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga

Players to watch out for

Tamim Iqbal- Bangladesh

Tamim couldn’t quite perform in the T20I series against Afghanistan but came into his own in the ODI and T20I series against the Windies. In three-match ODI series, he notched 287 runs at an incredible average of 143.50. Also, being Bangladesh’s leading run-scorer in the 50-overs format, expectations are definitely going to be high from the Chittagong-born cricketer.

Upul Tharanga- Sri Lanka

Among the current bunch of Sri Lankan players, Tharanga is the leading run scorer with 6863 runs. He wasn’t in the best of forms in the erstwhile series against the Proteas, but Bangladesh won’t want to make the mistake of undermining his abilities with the willow. Against the Tigers, the left-hander has scored 879 runs with three tons and five half-centuries.

Stat Attack

172– Runs Mushfiqur Rahim needs to accomplish 5000 ODI runs.

1– This will be the first instance when Sri Lanka will play an international match against an opponent other than Pakistan in Dubai

Head to Head

Matches – 44 | Sri Lanka Won – 36; Bangladesh Won – 6 | N/R – 2

Broadcast details

TV – Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD 1

Live streaming– Hotstar

Match Timings – 05:00 PM IST, Local Time 03:30 PM

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