The opening game of the 2022 Asia Cup will take place on Saturday, August 27, at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium between Sri Lanka’s cricket team and Afghanistan.
Afghanistan plays weaker nations than the other team more often than not, although, since 2020, they have also won a T20I series against Ireland, two against Zimbabwe, and one against Bangladesh.
Sri Lanka, in contrast, has only triumphed just one T20I series since 2020. This was directed towards India. Wow, that’s impressive. Until you recall that this was the series where an already depleted India team—their Test side was on tour elsewhere, playing England—thrashed Sri Lanka in the opening game, before no fewer than seven of their players contracted Covid-19 and they were unable to field even an XI, packing the side out with bowlers, including net bowlers.
Even without Dushmantha Chameera, who is out of the competition because of a calf injury, Afghanistan might have the best attack. Rashid Khan and Wanindu Hasaranga both bring the same kinds of skills to the game. Hasaranga has been getting better, but Rashid has been ahead for longer. Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Maheesh Theekshana are almost indistinguishable. Even though neither team has a very good seam attack, Afghanistan has Naveen-ul-Haq, who just played a good series against Ireland.
Sri Lanka will feel like they are better than the other team when they bat. Kusal Mendis is in great shape in every way. Charith Asalanka did a great job at the World Cup in the UAE last year. Afghanistan has done well this year with Najibullah Zadran and Hazratullah Zazai, but can they keep it up against good spin?
Afghanistan has another chance to show that they are good enough to play tougher teams more often. And Sri Lanka proves that, even though they have trouble with the best teams, they can still beat the teams they have always beaten.
Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Team News
Shanaka didn’t say much about his XI before the game, but he did say that there would be a left-arm seamer on the field. This means that Dilshan Madushanka may make his debut. Matheesha Pathirana, who bowls with a sling, is likely to be there with him. Sri Lanka has to make a choice about how to bat, though. Ashen Bandara’s home life has been going well. But Dhananjaya de Silva has a wider range of strengths. Pathum Nissanka is another. Mendis could move down the order if they want to make room for Nissanka in the XI.
SL vs AFG Asia Cup 2022 Playing 11
Sri Lanka :1 Kusal Mendis (wk), 2 Danushka Gunathilaka, 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 5 Dhananjaya de Silva/Ashen Bandara, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Matheesha Pathirana, 11 Dilshan Madushanka
Afganistan: 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 3 Ibrahim Zadran, 4 Najibullah Zadran, 5 Mohammad Nabi (capt), 6 Samiullah Shinwari, 7 Rashid Khan, 8 Karim Janat, 9 Naveen-ul-Haq, 10 Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 11 Noor Ahmad.
Asia Cup 2022 Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Stats
Surprisingly, these teams have only played each other once in a Twenty20 International, and that was in the 2016 World Cup. Sri Lanka won the match with seven balls to spare.
Nabi has played in 35 T20Is in the UAE, which is more than anywhere else. His numbers are impressive in both areas. He’s made 593 runs here, striking at 138. And his economy rate is 7.09, and he has taken 31 wickets.
Shanaka’s form in 2022 is a huge step up from the years before. He has never hit more than 224 runs in a year before this one (he has 308 so far this year), and he has never struck out more than 135 times in a year where he hit more than ten runs.