Asia Cup: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Preview

Cricket ball and bails on field

Sri Lanka and Afghanistan go head to head in the Asia Cup on Monday afternoon. 

Sri Lanka face a must-win clash with the newest full member of the ICC, Afghanistan, in their 2018 Asia Cup Group B match.

All the pressure will be on Sri Lanka, who know that defeat will see them eliminated from the tournament after they lost the opening match to Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan | Monday, 17 September | Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium | 13:30     

To Win Match
Sri Lanka 46/100
Tie 35/1
Afghanistan 7/4

Sri Lanka
The big positive for Sri Lanka, not just in this tournament, but going forward is the return to form of a leaner looking Lasith Malinga. Malinga produced once of his trademark new ball spells that had Bangladesh in real trouble.

They were disappointing across the batting department in Dubai, where yet again batsmen got in only to find themselves getting out prematurely. Sri Lanka's batting implosions have been a recurring theme in ODI cricket, leading to constant shuffling of the line-ups.

The top score in Dubai for Sri Lanka was the 29 made by all-rounder Dilruwan Perera in an abject batting display.

Sri Lanka stand no chance of progressing from the group stage if they don't beat Afghanistan - and may yet suffer elimination even if they win.

Angelo Mathews' team have never lost an ODI to Afghanistan, but that will give them little comfort. Sri Lanka have just one rest day to turn things around, while Afghanistan head into the clash fresh.

Afghanistan
After their sensational progress to the highest levels of ICC membership, Afghanistan will want to make their mark in a big tournament with the World Cup taking place in less than a year.

They certainly possess the bowlers to trouble the brittle Sri Lanka batting lineup. Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have massively enhanced their reputations in the last year - and they will sniff a chance to score an upset win.

Afghanistan's last assignment in ODI cricket was a three-match series in Ireland in August, when they won 2-1.

Like Sri Lanka, they will have some concerns over their batting and may also struggle to cope with a red-hot Malinga.

The team continue to rely heavily on Mohammad Shahzad for top-order runs as well as impetus, but Hazratullah Zazai has shown great potential as an explosive batsman.

Verdict: Afghanistan 7/4
Afghanistan might just be able to take advantage of an under-pressure Sri Lanka to secure their own Asia Cup 2018 progression.
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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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