Asia Cup 2018 Match 3, Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka: Preview and Predicted Playing XI
Sri Lanka was stunned by the Tigers in the opening fixture of Asia Cup 2018 by 137 runs. Sri Lanka will now look to bounce back and keep their Super four hopes alive when they face Afghanistan in the third fixture of Asia Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday, September 17. Both teams have faced each other twice in the ODI's with Sri Lanka leading the scoreline 2-0.
In their most recent clash at ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 at Dunedin, the Islanders restricted the Afghans at 232 before chasing the target comfortably with five wickets to spare.
The Lankans failed to transfer their momentum from the ODI series against Africa and suffered a big defeat in the opening game of the Asia Cup. Islanders now find themselves in a do or die situation against the Afghans as a defeat here will end their campaign.
Dilruwan Perera with 29 runs was the only bright spot for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh. Expect him none of the other batsmen were able to make a mark against disciplined Bangladeshi Bowlers.
The failure of their frontline batsmen including Kusal Perera and Skipper Angelo Mathews was the main reason behind the loss and the team will need some strong contributions from them against the Afghans.
The comeback man Lasith Malinga was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka in the ODI against Bangladesh.
He took four wickets in 10 overs and was very economical also at the same point. He gave away just 23 runs in his 10 overs.
He is likely to notch up some important wickets in the match against Afghanistan also. Dhananjaya de Silva also claimed two wickets in the last match and he along with other bowlers like Suranga Lakmal and Thisara Perera can also make some damage with the ball against Afghanistan.
Expected Playing XI: Angelo Mathews (C), Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Amila Aponso, Dilruwan Perera, Upul Tharanga, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis.
Afghanistan are coming into this tournament on the back of a 2-1 ODI series win against the host Ireland and will be pleased with their recent ODI performances.
After winning the opening match of that series by 29 runs, Bangladesh faced a three-wicket defeat in the second match and then won the third and deciding game by eight wickets.
Batting: Afghanistan batting has not been up to the mark in recent ODI's as their top order failed to click on regular basis. Mohammad Shahzad has four centuries and 12 half-centuries in ODI's and the team will look to him each time for setting the tone of their innings.
While Nabi, the team's leading ODI run-getter and wicket-taker, has been a vital cog for them over the years and him along with skipper Asghar have rescued them from trouble on several occasions in the past.
Bowling: Rashid Khan, the World No. 2 ODI bowler, is the x-factor for Afghanistan when it comes to bowling.
While Mujeeb Ur Rahman too is making rapid strides in white-ball cricket and he is another potent threat that the opposing teams will have to counter.
Both of them will look to tighten the screws in the middle overs. Expect them Aftab Alam is another bowler who could peg back Ireland with early strikes.
Expected Playing XI : Asghar Afghan (C), Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad, Aftab Alam, Gulbadin Naib, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Ihsanullah Janat, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.