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Asia Cup 3rd Match: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Preview + Dream11

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Asia Cup 3rd Match: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Preview + Dream11 Cricket Blog Cricket Preview CricBlog

Three days into the Asia Cup and a team widely expected (not by me) to progress to the Super Four is in danger of being the first team knocked out. After two one-sided games in a tournament that needs excitement to be truly recognised, one can only hope that today’s battle delivers.

Sri Lanka is the team now under serious pressure to qualify for the Super Four. The battle on Saturday was Bangladesh vs Lasith Malinga, rather than Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, which was a huge disappointment. Their batting and fielding display would have left a park cricket side in dismay had they put on the same show – a show not worthy of international cricket. Now, with Akila Dananjaya back in the mix, Sri Lanka will have to find every ounce of quality to keep their tournament alive.

For Afghanistan, their opening game is automatically a chance to qualify for the Super Four stage. The tournament format gives very little room for error, but in Afghanistan’s case, a chance to progress with one good outing today. Their batting in the recent series in Ireland left a bit to be desired, but with more familiar conditions on offer in this tournament, they have what it takes to put Sri Lanka’s attack under pressure. Also, the spin attack of Afghanistan is the envy of even more established cricketing nations in my opinion, and will certainly have a key role to play today. Can they knock Sri Lanka out of the tournament?

Key to a Sri Lanka win

Sri Lanka’s fielding effort on Saturday resembled a basketball match rather than cricket, such was the embarrassing display. As many as three catches went down inside the opening ten overs, resulting in a failed attempt to dislodge Bangladesh cheaply after stars Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan were not in the picture. 
With their tournament on the line, Sri Lanka have to display desperation in the field and take all chances that come their way. Indeed, that also comes with better support for Lasith Malinga, who bowled as if he had plenty of international cricket under his belt. Apart from Malinga, though, the other Sri Lankan bowlers conceded 228 in 39.3 overs against a Bangladesh side suffering from an awful start. The addition of Akila Dananjaya will help with this problem, assisting in maintaining the pressure on Afghanistan’s batsmen.
On the batting front, Sri Lanka’s top order failed yet again. Can they stand up and be counted now? If they don’t, and they are eliminated from the tournament in a group that is competitive yet one the Lankans should top, a few careers should be seriously put into question.

Key to an Afghanistan win

Afghanistan start this game as outsiders with the bookmakers, but the gap between the sides is not much at all. 
For me, Afghanistan’s batting is key to their chances. You know what you’re going to get with their impressive bowling attack, but not so much with their batting, which was unconvincing in Ireland. How they handle Lasith Malinga and Akila Dananjaya will especially be key, as a solid start and good middle overs batting is vital to either setting or chasing a good total.
On the bowling front, Afghanistan will send down up to 30 overs of quality spin, against a side whose confidence is shot. With Sri Lanka crumbling to 60/6 against Bangladesh’s finger spinners on Saturday, a great opportunity awaits Afghanistan’s spinners who possess plenty of tricks with the ball. Can they dismantle the Sri Lankan line up?

Possible teams

Akila Dananjaya will come in for Sri Lanka, possibly at the expense of Dilruwan Perera. Niroshan Dickwella is also a chance of playing this game.
Sri Lanka possible XI: 1. Kusal Mendis, 2. Upul Tharanga, 3. Dhananjaya de Silva, 4. Kusal Perera (wk), 5. Angelo Mathews, 6. Dasun Shanaka, 7. Thisara Perera, 8. Suranga Lakmal, 9. Akila Dananjaya, 11. Amila Aponso, 11. Lasith Malinga
Afghanistan could stick with the side that won the ODI series in Ireland.
Afghanistan possible XI: 1. Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 2. Ihsanullah, 3. Rahmat Shah, 4. Hasmatullah Shahidi, 5. Gulbadin Naib, 6. Asghar Afghan (c), 7. Mohammad Nabi, 8. Najibullah Zadran, 9. Rashid Khan, 10. Aftab Alam, 11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Dream11

With both sides having shaky batting, I think it’s a safer bet including more bowlers in your Dream11 side. Below is mine, with a few points.
Asia Cup 3rd Match: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Preview + Dream11 Cricket Blog Cricket Preview CricBlog
  • Rashid Khan is all quality and will be a test for Sri Lanka’s batsman. He’s my captain, with Akila Dananjaya my vice captain. Lasith Malinga is also an excellent choice for C or VC, but it remains to be seen how he backs up after his effort two days ago in very hot conditions.
  • Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi are good additions to the side, so too Gulbadin Naib, Rahmat Shah and Aftab Alam who had good moments in Ireland. Also, Rahmat Shah has been dismissed for single figures only once in his last 17 innings.
  • Upul Tharanga is due a good score after his excellent domestic form. The dangerous Kusal Perera is my keeper, with Mohammad Shahzad a riskier option up top against Lasith Malinga.
Keen to have a go yourself? You can register here!

Stats and Facts

  • Sri Lanka have won both their ODIs vs Afghanistan.
  • Kusal Mendis has gone 19 innings without a fifty in ODIs.
  • If Sri Lanka lose this game, their tournament is over.
  • Rashid Khan has taken 29 wickets in 11 ODIs in the UAE, at an average of 12.07.
  • Sri Lanka have won just 10 of 38 ODIs since the start of 2017.

Prediction

Expect this to be the most competitive match of the tournament so far.
Sri Lanka will be desperate to ensure they stay alive in the tournament, and Afghanistan will look to seal a Super Four spot.
In line with my predictions for the tournament, I see Sri Lanka exiting the tournament in the group stage. Afghanistan to win in a tight one!

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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