Sri Lanka take on Afghanistan at Dhaka’s Shere Bangla National Stadium on Monday in a day-night contest, which is the penultimate encounter in the Asia Cup for both these two teams before the final on March 8.
And with Angelo Mathews’ men currently the only remaining unbeaten side left in the tournament, it would represent an enormous surprise were they not to make it three wins out of three against the underdogs.
What: Afghanistan vs. Sri Lanka
Where: Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
When: Monday, March. 3, 8 a.m. GMT/ 2 p.m. local time
Live Stream/TV info: Star Life OK (Sky Channel 783, UK)
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (capt), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Karim Sadiq, Nowroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Samiullah Shenwari, Rahmat Shah, Mirwais Ashraf, Fazal Niazai, Hamza Hotak, Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Najeeb Zadran
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal (vice- capt), Lasith Malinga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardena, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Chaturanga De Silva, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Ashan Priyanjan
Afghanistan: The minnows have performed admirably in their two matches so far, losing by 72 runs in their opener against Pakistan, despite having the favourites 117 for seven at one point, before causing a huge upset on Saturday when beating Bangladesh by 32 runs.
However, Mohammad Nabi and Co. know that they now face the form side of the tournament, although if they perform as they have done to date, then they are sure to give Sri Lanka a run for their money.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews’ team have begun the competition impressively so far, winning both of their opening two matches against Pakistan and India last week, albeit in extremely tight circumstances. As a result they will be more than confident of being able to see off the challenge of lowly Afghanistan.
Asghar Stanikzai: The 25-year-old has made impressive contributions with the bat in his side’s first two outings, compiling a more-than-useful 40 from 91 balls, with three fours, against Pakistan last week.
Meanwhile, against Bangladesh on Saturday, the right-handed No. 4’s unbeaten 90, his fourth ODI fifty, was the cornerstone of the underdogs’ match-winning total of 254 for six.
Kumar Sangakkara: The Sri Lankan wicketkeeper is currently in the form of his life, which is saying something. The veteran turned in a man-of-the-match display to help his team squeeze past India by just two wickets with four balls remaining at Fatullah on Friday.
And with the 36-year-old’s eye-catching innings of 103 off only 84 balls, with 12 fours and a six, coming on the back of another impressive knock of 67 from 65 deliveries against Pakistan earlier in the week, then Afghanistan know just who the opposition danger man is.
The tourists chased down the home team’s total of 240 for eight with 2.3 overs still remaining thanks to a brilliant maiden 50-over hundred from opener Kusal Perera.
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