Sri Lanka may be ranked above Bangladesh in the ICC’s ODI rankings, but recent form suggests the Tigers are favourites for this clash.
Bangladesh come into the tournament on the back of an ODI series win in the West Indies, while Sri Lanka lost a home series to South Africa.
Both teams have some injury concerns, but otherwise have chosen to field strong line-ups.
Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka | Saturday, 15 September | Dubai International Stadium | 13:30
To Win Match
Sri Lanka 53/100
It is unclear if star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will be fit for the opening game, with some confusion in the build-up to the tournament centering around his effort at the training camp in Dhaka.
Bangladesh will be led by veteran paceman Mashrafe Mortaza, who will be looking to help the side build towards being competitive at next year’s World Cup.
The peculiar structure of the tournament means that the pressure will be on Bangladesh from the outset. Should they lose to Sri Lanka, they will be faced with needing to win a tricky assignment against Afghanistan to advance to the next stage.
Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mustafizur Rahman and Mahmudullah Riyad add solid quality and experience to a Bangladesh side on a high after dual white-ball triumphs in the Caribbean.
Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh at home in a recent ODI tri-series that also involved Zimbabwe, so Mashrafe’s men will be out for a measure of revenge.
Sri Lanka lost Dinesh Chandimal on the eve of the tournament, as he failed to recover from a fractured finger suffered in a domestic T20 competition. He will be replaced by explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella.
Danushka Gunathilaka is welcomed back into the Sri Lanka fold after serving his suspension handed down by SLC for off-field disciplinary issues, while veteran paceman Lasith Malinga has earned a surprise recall.
Akila Dananjaya’s status as Sri Lanka’s most dangerous bowler is undisputed at this point – and the selectors have only picked one reserve specialist spinner in Amila Aponso.
Angelo Mathews appears to have put the worst of his injury troubles behind him and will lead the side, but his bowling career might be over, though Thisara Perera has filled the extra seamer role with aplomb.
Verdict: Bangladesh 31/20
On recent form alone, Bangladesh should get the jump on Sri Lanka, who struggled at home in their most recent assignment.