ASIA CUP 2018 - Group B, 3rd Match, Sri Lanka V Afghanistan
Date & Time : September 17, 2018 Local Time - 3:30 PM
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Yet again, Sri Lanka started a series with a colossal 137-run defeat against Bangladesh in Asia Cup opening game at Dubai. Another batting collapse left them in a 'must-win' situation against Afghanistan to keep hopes of staying alive in the tournament.
Kusal Mendis experiment at the top didn't work but they might take another chance with the opening combination. Else they can use the services of Dickwella to allow Mendis to bat at his preferable no.3 or no.4 position.
Apart from Rahim-Mithun's partnership, bowler's performed really well. Lasith Malinga's terrific comeback with the ball minimized fast-bowling woes. Akila Dananjaya returns to the squad after missing the first match against Bangladesh and he will definitely bring more sting to their bowling attack.
Thisara Perera had an off day in the first game and his all-round abilities will play a crucial role in Sri Lanka's fortunes in Asia Cup 2018.
Also, Read - Asia Cup 2018: Group B Analysis
Afghanistan will look to fancy their opponent's distraught situation to enforce another major upset. They had an outstanding 2018 in white-ball cricket by winning all the series they played in.
The spin trio of Rashid, Mujeeb and Nabi are a vital part of Afghanistan's bowling plans and they are capable of running through any batting line-up in the World. If their batting also comes good, then they may well on their way for another upset.
What to expect: With constant high temperatures in UAE, the pitch was expected to assist slower bowlers as the match progresses. Whoever wins the toss will look to bat first.
Team Combinations :
Sri Lanka might will look to add more depth to their batting order by bringing in keeper batsman N Dickwella in place of D Shanaka. They will also swap Dilruwan Perera who had an ordinary comeback to ODI team with leggie Akila Dananjaya.
Sri Lanka (Likely IX) - Upul Tharanga, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera(wk), D de Silva, Angelo Mathews(C), N Dickwella/Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Amila Aponso, Lasith Malinga
Afghanistan may continue with the same team that won in Ireland. If they want an extra seam option, then they can go with Wafadar Momand in place of one the all-rounders.
Afghanistan (Likely IX) - Mohammad Shahzad(wk), Ishanullah, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Gulbadin Naib, Ashgar Afghan(C), Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran/Wafadar, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
#1 Sri Lanka won both their ODI's against Afghanistan by 129 runs in Asia Cup 2014 and by four wickets in World Cup 2015.
#2 Afghanistan have won all the series they played till now in 2018.
#3 Rahmat Shah has been dismissed only once for a single-digit score in his last 17 innings.
Also Read - Asia Cup 2018: Group A Preview
Who Said What:
"We don't start off competitions well, and that has been evident in the last seven months. If you take the tour to Bangladesh, we lost the first two games. Then against South Africa, in the first ODI, we lostby five wickets for 30 runs. We lost 60 for 6 yesterday.
When they are under pressure, the batsmen lack options and clarity. The decision making becomes poor and they lack confidence. We need to make their mental aspect right." - Sri Lanka's batting coach Thilan Samaraweera on their constant batting failures in recent times.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (C), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera (wk), Kusal Mendis, D de Silva, D Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, N Dickwella (wk), Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dilruwan Perera, Amilo Aponso, Kasun Ranjitha, Suranga Lakmal, D Chameera, L Malinga
Afghanistan: Ashgar Afghan (C), M Shahzad (wk), Ishanullah Janat, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Munir Ahmad (wk), Samiullah Shenwari, Gulbadin Naib, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mohammed Nabi, Rashid, Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam, Sayed Shirzad, Wafadar Momand