Asia Cup provides a perfect preparation time for all the teams to finalize on squads and probables ahead of the World Cup in England next year. In the last edition, the tournament was held in the T20 format and this year it will be back in its regular 50-over format as a build up to the key 'marquee' event.
Six teams have been separated into two groups. Asia Cup Qualifiers Winners Hong Kong are in Group A with arch-rivals India and Pakistan. Five-time winners Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan are placed in Group B. What are the Group B team combinations, stats, and players to watch out for?
Group B Fixtures :
Sri Lanka v Bangladesh (Venue - Dubai, Date - 15th September 2018)
Sri Lanka v Afghanistan (Venue - Abu Dhabi, Date - 17th September 2018)
Bangladesh v Afghanistan (Venue - Abu Dhabi, Date - 20th September 2018)
In 2017, SL had three 5-0 series losses against South Africa, India & Pakistan. This year under new coach Chandika Hathurusingha, they have had a remarkable turnaround to win the Tri-Nation Tournament with Bangladesh & Zimbabwe held in Bangladesh. Though they lost the home series against South Africa 3-2, they won their last three games including the lone T20 v SA.
Injuries to Chandimal & Gunatilaka weakens the batting department a bit, but still they will go into this tournament quite confident with enough firepower in the likes of power hitters like Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, and Dasun Shanaka. In the series opener, they will face Bangladesh after their infamous Nidahas Trophy clash where tensions ran in the middle of the match between both the team players.
Squad: Angelo Mathews (C), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera (wk), Kusal Mendis, D de Silva, D Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, N Dickwella (wk), Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Dilruwan Perera, Amilo Aponso, Kasun Ranjitha, Suranga Lakmal, D Chameera, L Malinga
Key Players - Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera, Akila Dananjaya
Key figures -
5 - SL's Asia Cup titles out of 13 editions.
6 - No. of SL's batsmen in top 10 leading run scorers in Asia Cup