Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 2, 2014

Chance for Sri Lanka to seal final berth


Agarkar: SL too strong for Afghanistan

Match Facts

March 3, 2014
1400 local (0800 GMT)

Big Picture

With wins against Pakistan and India, Sri Lanka have been the dominant side in the tournament and one more win will confirm their place in the final. But they would not want to slip up against Afghanistan, who surprised the hosts on Saturday with a 32-run win.

Watching Afghanistan's all-round display was perhaps the most refreshing sight of this Asia Cup. Mohammad Nabi leads a group of hungry cricketers who do not look out of place in ODI cricket. The performances of Samiullah Shenwari and Asghar Stanikzai in particular were eye-catching, as they completely changed the course of the match against Bangladesh. Shenwari and Stanikzai now hold the record for the highest sixth-wicket partnership among the Associates.

Shenwari is the more attacking of the pair, with a penchant for playing the cut and hitting straight, and his timing hit near perfection against Bangladesh. Stanikzai started off slowly, but has said that he has the confidence of increasing the strike-rate whenever he wants.

Afghanistan's bowling attack has good variety and the bowlers can be aggressive with the new ball. Shapoor Zadran, Dawlat Zadran and Hamid Hassan have been quite attacking with their lengths, but surprisingly, they have not been using the bouncers. Nabi, Shenwari and Hamza Hotak have been tidy with the spin too.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews would hope that the likes of Mahela Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal find some form. They also have the opportunity to experiment with their bowling attack, but will be wary of Afghanistan, who have shown they have the ability to surprise.

Form guide

(Completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka WWWWW
Afghanistan WLWWW

Watch out for

The all-round showing by Samiullah Shenwari has been very impressive. He bats freely and can go after any bowler. His legspin is also effective, particularly his ability to generate turn.

Sri Lanka are beginning to get the benefits of Kusal Perera, an opener who bats aggressively. He has given them rapid starts recently, and will be expected to do so once again.

Team news

Unless there are injuries, Afghanistan are not likely to change their playing XI.

Afghanistan (possible): 1 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 2 Karim Sadiq, 3 Asghar Stanikzai, 4 Nawroz Mangal, 5 Mohammad Nabi (capt), 6 Samiullah Shenwari, 7 Najibullah Zadran, 8 Mirwais Ashraf, 9 Hamza Hotak, 10 Hamid Hassan/Dawlat Zadran, 11 Shapoor Zadran.

Sri Lanka could rest a few of their big who have been playing non-stop for a month and a half, which means Ashan Priyanjan, Dhammika Prasad and Suranga Lakmal could get a chance to play.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Kusal Perera, 2 Lahiru Thirimanne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Chaturanga de Silva, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Sachitra Senanayake, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Ajantha Mendis.

Pitch and conditions

The Mirpur wicket will remain batting friendly, and unlike Fatullah, the batsmen would want to go after the bowling early in the game as the wicket slows down with time.

Stats and trivia

  • This is the first-ever Sri Lanka-Afghanistan ODI match.

  • Sri Lanka have lost only one game against an Associate, to Kenya in the 2003 World Cup.


    "We will hopefully do well against Sri Lanka too."
    Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi will be leading a team full of confidence on Monday.

    "Afghanistan's bowling attack is very strong and they have an aggressive attitude. We are not taking them lightly."
    Lahiru Thirimanne knows that Sri Lanka's work will be cut out for them.

    Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

  • Comments have now been closed for this article

    • ESPN on March 3, 2014, 8:13 GMT

      Indians please don't cry for nothing.get ready for next defeat t20 World Cup.

    • nadun on March 3, 2014, 8:09 GMT

      Definitely Sri Lanka is the favourites in this match .But I don't think Chandimal scoring against teams like Bangladesh or Afghanistan classify as he is in good form... even he manage to pull that off in this match. Based on his performance he doesn't deserve a place in Sri Lankan team. When you really see Chandimal looks like a burden Sri Lanka carries with them as he is in team to score runs (cant bowl) and constantly failing in that when Sri Lanka really needs him to play matching wining innings.

    • Android on March 3, 2014, 7:53 GMT

      it is defficult to win SL but becoz SL have Malenga he is very fast and AFG team is a little weak in batting ....

    • Android on March 3, 2014, 7:52 GMT

      @look-ma-i-am-Indian: mate..if you look back at the comments you will see you are not doing any better than your captain. I admit that you r better at 2 things. which is making outrageous excuses for why you lost and taking cheap shot at others.. all in all this proves 2 things. 1. that you are aware you team is pathetic and 2. you are actually threaten by SL. there is term of this condition and its called denial. admiring that there is a problem will be your first step to recovery. like I said before..sour grapes mate..

    • Shafat on March 3, 2014, 7:48 GMT

      Well done by Afghanistan so for, they have showqn they r not only to participate but give tough competetion to other teams, They gave atough competition to Pakistan & have beaten Bangladesh. Well done Keep it up & keep fighting.

    • Dummy4 on March 3, 2014, 7:43 GMT

      OMG SL is bat first ? is what sl the target ? 450 + ?

    • Nuwan on March 3, 2014, 7:28 GMT

      look-ma-i-am-indian , a kid, trying to battle it out here on crickinfo to cover the shame indian team has been undergoing for some time. please machanla don't embaress this poor soul anymore. Not all the indian fans are like this kid.

      Looking forward to a great game from SL

    • Android on March 3, 2014, 7:28 GMT

      who ever wins today it doesn't matter. coz india out of the series. take that indian fans:-P ha ha ha...

    • Mohammed on March 3, 2014, 7:17 GMT

      @AjmalYousafzai: Upto now Agarkar's predictions were fair enough. Accept the truth. I agree that the fastest growing cricketing nation ever is Afghanistan. 10 years after SL start cricket they are not in this position. But afghan grown faster. But still has to go to beat a team like SL. Afghanistan Win over BANG because they lost all last matches with out of form and missing key players like Tamim and Shakib

    • Dummy4 on March 3, 2014, 7:09 GMT

      just to se that we like to see good match between these two teams win and lose is not impotent that much that a good playing by players.

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