A depleted Sri Lankan side will face Afghanistan in the 2nd match of Group B in the Asia Cup 2018. From Dubai, the action will shift to the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. It’s going to be a do or die game for Sri Lanka as one more loss will mean curtains for them in the tournament.
The first round includes the 3 sides of a group taking on each other. The 2 best teams will then move to the Super 4 round. If Sri Lanka loses to Afghanistan, they will be out of the tournament. On the other hand, Afghanistan, if wins, will qualify for the next round. Hence it’s all to play for both sides as huge claims are at stake.
Sri Lanka had a nightmare start to their campaign in the opening encounter against Bangladesh. They were outplayed in all 3 departments and were literally blown away in a one-sided encounter. A loss by a massive margin of 137 runs would have dented their confidence and it’s going to be tough to come back from there.
Afghanistan will fancy their chances against a tormented Lankan line-up. Although the previous 2 matches between the sides were won by Sri Lanka, it’s pretty even when it comes to the chances in the upcoming game. It remains to be seen whether Sri Lanka bounces back but at the moment, the odds seem more in favor of Afghanistan.
Here is our prediction for the game
Case1: If Sri Lanka bats first
First Innings score prediction: 220-230
Result prediction: Afghanistan will win the match by 4 wickets
Case2: If Afghanistan bats first
First Innings score prediction: 240-250
Result prediction: Afghanistan will win the match by 20-30 runs
Head to head in ODIs
Total ODIs: 2, Sri Lanka won: 2, Afghanistan won: 0, No Result: 0
The ploy to open with Kusal Mendis failed in the first game as the right-hander couldn’t open his account. Upul Tharanga seemed impatient at the crease and needs to stick for a longer duration. The middle-order was in all sorts of trouble including the skipper Angelo Mathews. There was no resistance shown by any batsman against Bangladesh. They need to do much more now to stay in the hunt.
Lasith Malinga was the sole bright spot in the bowling department. The veteran bagged 4 wickets on his return to ODI cricket. He was unplayable at times and was the go-to man. But apart from him, the other bowlers were ineffective. Sri Lankan cricket relies a lot on the spinners but they looked clueless when the opposition batsmen attacked them. It will now require a special effort from the bowling unit.
Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews (c), Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga
Earlier the Afghan team was known to possess mighty strength in the bowling department. The batsmen have come of age in the recent times. A batsman like Mohammad Shahzad can take the game away from the opposition if he stays in the middle for a while. There are youngsters like Naib and Janat who bring the exuberance while the experienced lads like Nabi and Stanikzai proved the stability.
Talk about Afghanistan cricket and you can’t take your mind off from Rashid Khan. The leg-spinner is one the best in the world currently. Put Mujeeb Ur Rahman alongside him and the duo becomes a deadly spin-pair. While the Sri Lankans struggled against the pacers of Bangladesh, they now have to face the spin-challenge against Afghanistan.
Asghar Stanikzai (c), Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Aftab Alam, Gulbadin Naib, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Ihsanullah Janat, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman