Asia Cup 2018: Match 3, Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, Preview- Lanka in a bid to stay afloat after thrashing in opener

Asia Cup 2018: Match 3, Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, Preview- Lanka in a bid to stay afloat after thrashing in opener

The teams have met twice previously and the Lankans have come out trumps on both occasions.

Afghanistan team
Afghanistan team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sri Lanka had an awful day at Dubai after their horrendous defeat against Bangladesh by a mammoth 137 runs in the Asia Cup opening encounter. Apart from Lasith Malinga, none of their players could get the measure of the conditions and the Tigers’ bowling as well. They will now move to Abu Dhabi where they will lock horns with Afghanistan at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Both their bowling and batting looked unorganised and they have to recollect themselves in a bid to stay afloat in the tournament, but the task against Asghar Afghan’s men won’t be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination. The Afghans have been in impressive form having won their previous ODI series against Ireland and will want to capitalise on their opponent’s poor form.

The teams have met twice previously and the Lankans have come out trumps on both occasions. While one match was pretty one-sided, their second face-off at Dunedin in 2015 turned out to be a closely-fought affair. Nevertheless, bearing in mind, Afghanistan’s recent form, they have every chance of rolling their opponents over, which also will end Lanka’s campaign in the Asia Cup.

Team Combination

Sri Lanka

Lanka are likely to replace Dasun Shanaka with Niroshan Dickwella, who was called upon as a replacement of Dinesh Chandimal. Shanaka couldn’t contribute with either of bat and ball. Moreover, they may promote Kusal Perera to open with left-handed batsman Upul Tharanga. In that scenario, Kusal Mendis, who couldn’t open his account in the last match, will come at number three.

Dhananjaya de Silva is slotted at number four and he will also look to contribute with his part-time off-breaks. Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera are the fulcrums in the lineup their role will be extremely vital for Lanka to turn their team’s fortunes around. The onus will also be on Lasith Malinga, who had an incredible outing in his comeback venture against Bangladesh.

Predicted XI

Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera (wk), Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews (C), Niroshan Dickwella, Thisara Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Amila Aponso, Lasith Malinga


The Afghans are likely to retain their eleven from their previous victory against the Irishmen. Swashbuckling batsman Mohammad Shahzad and Ihsanullah Janat are the opening batsman and will have to set the tone for their team. Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi are likely to bat at number three and four respectively. The skipper is listed to come at number five.

Najibullah Zadran’s power-hitting abilities also need to come to the fore. The batting isn’t short of depth with the likes of Gulbadin Naib and Rashid Khan batting lower down the order. In the bowling, their spin attack is a formidable one with the likes of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi in the ranks. Aftab Alam and Naib will shoulder the fast bowling department.

Predicted XI

Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Ihsanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah, Hasmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan (C), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulabadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Players to watch out for

Upul Tharanga- Sri Lanka

The left-handed batsman was one of the very few players who looked good courtesy of a few boundaries early in the innings. However, he would be disappointed for the reason that he perished to Mashrafe Mortaza. In a lacklustre-looking batting lineup, the experienced campaigner has to contribute with a substantial knock in order for Lanka to make progress in the event.

Rashid Khan- Afghanistan

The teenage sensation from Nangarhar has been the talk of the town ever since he forayed into international cricket back in 2015. This year, he has been phenomenal in tournaments across the globe. On the slow and low pitches in the UAE, it won’t spring a surprise by any means if the 19-year-old manages to pull a rabbit out of the hat and pick the bones out of the Lankans.

Stat Attack

3- Wickets Mujeeb Ur Rahman needs to pick up 50 ODI wickets

100– Runs Upul Tharanga needs to complete 7000 ODI runs

Head to Head

Matches – 2 | Sri Lanka Won – 2; Afghanistan Won – 0 | N/R – 0

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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