Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur

Chance for Sri Lanka to seal final berth

The Preview by Mohammad Isam

March 2, 2014

Comments: 130 | Text size: A | A
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.

Samiullah Shenwari acknowledges the crowd after making fifty, Bangladesh v Afghanistan, Asia Cup, Fatullah, March 1, 2014
Samiullah Shenwari's match-winning 81 against Bangladesh has been one of the biggest highlights of the tournament so far © Associated Press

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

    RSS Feeds: Mohammad Isam

    © ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 8:13 GMT)

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

    Posted by nadz55 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.

    Posted by   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 ....

    Posted by   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..

    Posted by Shafat1402 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.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 7:43 GMT)

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

    Posted by Nuwas 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

    Posted by   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...

    Posted by Remoz 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

    Posted by   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.

    Posted by SL_Fan_1985 on (March 3, 2014, 7:08 GMT)

    @ Nadeeshan Meedin >> Hey....are you out of mind? SRI LANKA has nothing to loose???? ridiculous......Sri Lanka will be the winners..... Please dnt make silly mistakes when comment...Go lions go.......

    Posted by Nishara_Silva on (March 3, 2014, 7:06 GMT)

    India is the only subcontinent team who is very poor in overseas... Ex - ODI Series lose to AUS , ENG , SAF , Latest NZ. I feel sorry about poor Indian Fans.Are they still thinking of getting in to the Final.Wakeup Guys what's wrong with you.Accept the truth. You are out now.

    Posted by Nuwas on (March 3, 2014, 7:03 GMT)

    @yvivekcb no way near since India already beat bangladesh & we know how upsetting it was,lol

    Posted by Manoj_the_Best on (March 3, 2014, 7:01 GMT)

    @look-ma-i-am-indian : Your team should be ready for all kind of conditions. Ur team is performing only in Sub continent conditions... For an example, please check Sri Lanka's records in Australia / NZ & also in England and how they perform in their conditions.

    Posted by AjmalYousafzai on (March 3, 2014, 7:01 GMT)

    @Agarkar: SL too strong for Afghanistan . but INSHALLAH you will see today Afghanistan is will be to strong for SL.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 7:00 GMT)

    Indian defeated reason is, their captain haven't gentle skills in the ground. Everybody can see his ugly movements after got the wicket. I never see other captain do as like him. As a example yesterday after the Ajmal wicket. We are cricket fans who like to see "Gentleman" in the ground. Coz Cricket is the Game of Gentleman.

    Posted by true-cric-lover on (March 3, 2014, 6:59 GMT)

    @ Posted by look-ma-i-am-indian on (March 3, 2014, 6:34 GMT) .. i think u r telling about the way that Aswin played. getting out and still wait for 2nd chance like soft ball school cricketers and u r calling about 'true cricket'. LOL

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:56 GMT)

    @thamindujayaweera, I like your comments mate. Utterly hilarious ah ah ah.. why these Indian fans asking for these sorts of humiliation posting on other teams articles even after thoroughly being knocked out by SL and PAK.

    Posted by rshan on (March 3, 2014, 6:52 GMT)

    Chandimal has been an utter failure. He fails more consistently than he succeeds. The selectors should talk to him and make him aware that his place will depend by his consistency to score. If not, it's unfair by others in the squad that are performing but not getting an opportunity to play for SL. Scoring in a single innings and then failing in ten, should not be the criteria for selection. SL selectors should take a leaf from the Aussie selectors "performance at the expected level". Being captain. Michael Clarke spoke about his recent poor form before the current 3rd test began. This is after failing in only 4 innings. He said he needs to put some runs on the board to justify his position in the team. Keeping to his word he's 161 not out before rain intervened yesterday. SL selectors too should set some performance guidelines for players in the squad to follow to justify selection for a match.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:48 GMT)

    As an Afghan first of all thanks everyone who respected and encouraged Afghan players in the Asia Cup 2014 Bangladesh I also want to mention this that we are new in the game but we have a strong team they did perform well against Pakistan we lost the 4 point by a catch and they even perform better against Bangladesh in their home ground now fans are expecting match winning performance from them against Sri Lanka which is doing really well in this competition so let's see time will prove who is doing what good luck to everyone

    Posted by thamindujayaweera on (March 3, 2014, 6:45 GMT)

    @ look-ma-i-am-indian do u know there was a match in this tournament between IND and SL, and sri lanka won the match or do you have a problem when translation words into english LOL

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:44 GMT)

    No disrespect to the Afghans. Srilanka is not Bangladesh. Lightning doesn't strike twice. Go lions.

    Posted by wardak2 on (March 3, 2014, 6:38 GMT)

    I am sure that Afghanistan will fight very will and it will not be one sided Match of Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and i wish afg over come on srilanka.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:36 GMT)

    Now Sri Lanka has Nothing to lose against India since they are out of the tournament.

    Posted by look-ma-i-am-indian on (March 3, 2014, 6:36 GMT)

    @Manoj_the_Best - bias conditions in NZ, they prepare all conditions to suit their players.

    Posted by look-ma-i-am-indian on (March 3, 2014, 6:34 GMT)

    @thamindujayaweera - important matches against real cricket teams not minnow teams and not insigifcant tour like asia cup. these good teams play standard cricket and still win. minnorws need unorthodox sloggesr and bowlers who dont know how to ball properly to win matches. Last 2 games India lost officially but they played true cricket other teams played ugy cricket.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:34 GMT)

    Chance for Afghanistan to seal final berth

    Posted by Oracle_Magus on (March 3, 2014, 6:30 GMT)

    This will be the real test for the Afhan team. Malinga's Yokers and Mendis's turn may be too hot for the inexperienced Afghans to handle. The only option for the Afghans will be to bat first and set up a target above 250. Then their fiery bowling attack can put pressure on the Lankans. But even that may be difficult considering the form of Sangakkara and the Depth of the Lankan batting line up. Chasing a target against the Lankan bowling is just not going to happen, there will be too much pressure on their batsmen and one chance is all they have got. Lankans are just way too good to let a chance go by. Afghan team should just enjoy this game and play their natural game and then who knows, we have been used to seeing miracles in the game of Cricket. Here too an unexpected result may happen. That's why we enjoy watching this game soo much. Cheers.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:30 GMT)

    I think if AFG can score around 250 against SL, then they have a chance of causing another upset. Having seen their bowling, I think it is probably right there among top 4 or 5 in the world, not just Asia.

    Posted by Manoj_the_Best on (March 3, 2014, 6:25 GMT)

    @look-ma-i-am-indian : Just 1 Question.... what happened to your team in New Zealand with all the stars..... do do not over estimate your team and do you think Asia Cup is a small series coz ur team is not performing :-)

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:25 GMT)

    india good bye ... asia cup 2014

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:22 GMT)

    @look-ma-i-am-indian: This attitude you have! This attitude your team has.. That is the downfall of yours mate. Grow up!

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:19 GMT)

    India deserve to be knocked out of the cup bcoz there are few better sides who are here to compete. As long as India find a genuine quick bowler with accuracy it will be tuff on the likes of shami to deliver every time. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is hammered time and again in death overs and yet he is in the eleven. Afridi delivered when it mattered the most justifying his talent on one of the rarest occasions while batting. Credit to him two miss hits out of the park sealed India's Fate.....Pakistan have gritty players.Most of the time they fight it out in the middle when the going gets tuff. Pakistan are likely contenders to win Asia Cup as well as T20 WC in Bnagladesh considering their current form and bowling attack more than batting.

    Posted by thamindujayaweera on (March 3, 2014, 6:10 GMT)

    @ look-ma-i-am-indian who are these stars u mentioned, and why they not in the team. Did someone force BCCI to not picked these 'stars'. Admit the truth your 'Big' team is not in this tournament anymore. I think the important matches u mentioned would be the IPL. Coz thats the only tournament u guys gonna win.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:09 GMT)

    This tour SL didn't lose any match in bangaladesh.Hope so they cont..

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:08 GMT)

    @look-ma-i-am-indian is this the stars that lost to New Zealand which lost to Bangladesh recently...LOL - JOKE OF THE DAY..

    Posted by look-ma-i-am-indian on (March 3, 2014, 6:08 GMT)

    @ user : Sri Lanka is a strong team specially when it comes to a tournament no SL is not strong team - they lose to india every torunament will happen this time too.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 6:07 GMT)

    Wow! Some fiasty comments in here. Thus far the Asia Cup 2014 has provided ODI cricket the kind of impetus it has needed. Enjoyed some great close encounters. And yesterday was no different. Congrats Pakistan! Personally I think India seriously misses Dhoni. They were pretty much my pick for Asia Cup 2014. Did not think they would be in this position. Pakistan deserves to be in the final. I expected Bangladesh to be as exciting as the last Asia Cup. But with Shakib and Tamim out of the side, it seems tough. Afgans, well, who doesn't love to see another team coming up in Cricket. I just hope they get more chances at the Intl. level. AFG has a chance of upsetting SL today if SL isn't careful. But I believe SL will pull through today. But definitely hope that this match too will be closer and not just one sided. I'm Sri Lankan. But may the best team win. Wish AFG all the best for their cricket future. Hope what happened to Kenya wouldn't happen to them.

    Posted by nilb on (March 3, 2014, 5:42 GMT)

    IND players and fans will pray to their gods really really hard. That's what they always do rather than taking matters in their own hands.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 5:42 GMT)

    Its going to be a good match today. I hope Sri Lanka dont rest any of their seniors because Mahela needs to find his form soon and giving him maximum chances would allow him to find his form. I would love to see Sanga batting. Chandimal needs to prove himself as a batsmen in this match.... Hoping for a solid Sri Lankan win.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 5:41 GMT)

    Sri Lanka is a strong team specially when it comes to a tournament. They have shown lack of consistency in tours but when it comes to a tournament they have always been an amazing team. Yet failed to handle pressure in finals. Sanga could't do it as a captain, so as Mahela.. Lots of world cup and other finals,yet ending as runners up.. Now it's time for Mathews to break the code.. He seems to be an aggressive captain. Showing the quality of leading from the front.. When ever he fails in batting he has shown his talent in bowling.. lots of learning to be done though , yet I believe that he will become another flourishing captain for Sri Lanka..

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 5:41 GMT)

    One thing people has to realize is that Sangakkara took 12 years to identify his real ability and started to dominate attacks. It is not fair if you expect that from any youngster straightaway. In 2002/03 there was a time when young Sangakkara - Mahela were Sri Lanka's most hatred cricketers. If selectors had dropped them, based on their poor form in couple of series, where could have been Sri Lankan cricket by now?

    Posted by look-ma-i-am-indian on (March 3, 2014, 5:38 GMT)

    do not over celebrate too much you have beaten Team India without their stars Team India has more important matches in future to be worried about small series against minnow teams. @thamindujayaweera - that one batsman you say was lucky not to get out -

    Posted by Manoj_the_Best on (March 3, 2014, 5:35 GMT)

    @look-ma-i-am-indian & yvivekcb: See how ur team depend on 01 or 02 batsmen (either Kholi or Dhoni) or else your team is below par even below than afgans :-)... Hope Indian team will reach Finals to meet Sri Lanka Again...

    Posted by Stat1977 on (March 3, 2014, 5:33 GMT)

    @look-ma-i-am-indian-Did you mean the team who lost 19 matches away and just recorded one win against BD team? and BD lost to Afghanistan.So That's what I and the rest of cricketing world know.Suck it up the sour grapes!

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 5:24 GMT)

    I believe, with little luck, Kusal, would destroy Afghan bowling. But Sri lanka should not be over confident. They must play the normal game.

    Posted by Rawanaa on (March 3, 2014, 5:20 GMT)

    look_ma_i_am_indian, we saw how india totally relies on virat koholi :p if we are minnows then where is india ? below minnows ? so don't provide jokes for international community... so pitiable lol

    Posted by true-cric-lover on (March 3, 2014, 5:19 GMT)

    @look-ma-i-am-indian, This is sport man. Why you getting too much anger after bite by SL. it can happen man. It happen in past also. IND was being a wonderful team in recent past but not now. Your team missing the balance while removing too many seniors at ones. Go and correct those faults and do not worry about us. If you think SL & AFG are minnows already you bite from one and AFG also beat you. Good Luck for both teams and I Love AFG team because they are showing promising performance and surely another gift for Asian cricket.

    Posted by sujeemuller on (March 3, 2014, 5:18 GMT)

    Rest Malinga and drop Chandimal bring Dammika and priyanjana. . Good luck Sri Lanka

    Posted by sangaTHEgreat on (March 3, 2014, 5:17 GMT)

    afgans were the most impressive team in this asia cup after sri lanka. so it will be a tough match. looking forward to it. gud luck SL

    Posted by greenluv on (March 3, 2014, 5:15 GMT)

    Those who are saying it could be another upset a big LOL at them. Get Real I can only wish AFG Team the good luck to play against such a good team and to learn something from this this game However Pak vs SL final will be fun to watch as both team are doing good.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 5:14 GMT)

    win or lose happens in the matches , but I want Afghan fighters to play bravely and impress the eACC and ICC to give them more changes to play with full members. and this Asia cup is the great opportunity for them. we need a good batting which comes after a batting coach , and unluckily, we do not have a batting coach. I request to Afghan cricket to hire a best batting coach for them.

    Posted by yvivekcb on (March 3, 2014, 5:06 GMT)

    Afghanistan will beat SL today. SL relying on one man - Sangakkara, if Afghans get him cheaply, then Afghans will win easily. SL get ready for biggest upset of the tournament...

    Posted by LIONS_ROARR on (March 3, 2014, 5:04 GMT)

    "Afghanistan's bowling attack is very strong and they have an aggressive attitude. We are not taking them lightly." -Lahiru Thirimanne What a great statement and I totally agree, and this coming from a junior member in the SL squad. Now compare that to the disgraceful statement by Mushfiqur the Ban captain saying how shameful it is to lose to Afg. Not one good word about Afg and no respect shown whatsoever. SL juniors have better integrity than the Ban captain. No wonder why Ban haven't climb up the rankings from 9th position since its inception. Here's to Ban to continue being a minnow and the rapid development of Afghan Cricket! Cheers!

    Posted by aruna-bandara on (March 3, 2014, 5:02 GMT)

    Even SL lose all remaining matches and India win with a bonus point, they wont be in finals, Look at the rules, bonus point and net rr aren't matter INDIA IS OUT OF THIS ASIA CUP. CHECK THE RULES UNDER POINTS TABLE. I'M SURPRISE EVEN CRICINFO DIDN'T REALIZE THAT.

    Posted by thamindujayaweera on (March 3, 2014, 4:58 GMT)

    @look-ma-i-am-indian, then it should have been a shame to get beaten from a minnow. and the great indian team couldnt get this one particular batsman out.

    Posted by true-cric-lover on (March 3, 2014, 4:53 GMT)

    @look-ma-i-am-indian.. This is sport man. Why you getting too much angree after bite by SL. it can happen man. It happen in past also. IND was being a wonderful team in recent past. But not now. Your team missing the balance while removing too many seniors at ones. go and correct those faltes and do not worry about us. if you think SL & AFG are minnorws already you bite from one and AFG also beet you. Good Luck for both teams and I Love AFG team because they are showing prommising performance and surely another gift for asian cricket.

    Posted by Miz911 on (March 3, 2014, 4:53 GMT)

    Sri Lankans should not take the Afghan players loosely. Sl Should play the Best XI today. SL fans will be much happier if Chandimal is rested and bring back Ashan priyanjan or kithruwan without wasting their talent.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 4:33 GMT)

    @look-ma-i-am-indian.. where is your team now mate? if this is the battle of the minnows, im afraid your team falls short of being a competitive team in international cricket team given Afghanistan has a better chance of being in finals. two words..sour grapes and check mate.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 4:31 GMT)

    I don't think we should take Afghans lightly. As we as in there earlier maches they got talent but what is lacking is consistency and experience. But in there day they will be a real challenge. We should not boasting like our other subcontinent friends.

    Posted by nickexplore on (March 3, 2014, 4:29 GMT)

    Lots of options for SL selectors. The decision to play Mendis (4 wickets) for Lakmal against India worked a treat, so don't expect too many changes today. Winning becomes a habit, SL will be keen to keep the momentum going.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 4:29 GMT)

    I think SL should not take this match loosely today. Specially because we dont want to be embarrassed as BD last time.

    Posted by Sri_Lankan_Cricket_Fan on (March 3, 2014, 4:24 GMT)

    I don't think Sri Lanka should rest the senior players today because they need to make sure that they are in the final after this match(SL fans would be more than happy if they rest Dinesh Chandimal though ;) ). SL can rest as much as players in the match with our little friends Bangladesh.

    Posted by ajithabey on (March 3, 2014, 4:12 GMT)

    Afghanistan have become a team to watch with their allround capabilities. Sri Lanka should take this match seriously without experimenting with players if they are to make it to the final. Hopefully we will witness another interesting match as seen in the recent past.

    Posted by look-ma-i-am-indian on (March 3, 2014, 4:05 GMT)

    Finally we get to see battle of minnows of the Asia cup - one side plays as a team the other relies on one batsman only. Expect a good tight game.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 4:04 GMT)

    Sachithra will not Play today i'm sure... any way SL will win biggy

    Posted by yohandf on (March 3, 2014, 4:02 GMT)

    Well well well . Lots of appreciation fro Afghan team after fab win and lots of hopes for an upset here . Sri Lanka don t mind that and will just do right things to secure a place of finals . mark my words ,THERE WONT BE MUCH FOR AFGHANS IN THIS MATCH . like Afghan cricket as cricket world need more good teams . but they themselves will be the first to understand that a lot of hard work needed in future . If Afghnistan can avoid a bonus point to sri lanka . its an achievment .

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 3:39 GMT)

    SriLankan makes historical wining today........ :)

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 3:34 GMT)

    SL must rest Kumar Sanga and Lasith for the final, as they are already in, to let the youngsters to feel pressure. Mahela must be rested against Bangaladesh along with these two players for the final.

    Posted by kovinbuddi on (March 3, 2014, 3:34 GMT)

    I wish they drop Dinesh Chandimal - his fom is very poor both batting and fielding.Sri Lanka will have a massive victory!

    Posted by Lakpj on (March 3, 2014, 3:15 GMT)

    Afghanistan bowling will be challenging but I think SL will be able to cope with it. But I think they will find with hard to cope with the SL bowlers. Malinga and Mendis are not the conventional type of bowlers you find so Afghan batsmen might find it hard. Senanayake too is not the easiest bowler to get away.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 3:13 GMT)

    they should rest sanga, angelo and malinga. but if they do rest angelo then they have to give the captaincy to chandimal.That won't be good move. But angelo had a groin problem and might not be opted to bowl if he plays. good luck for both teams. hope Afghanistan provides a good fight.

    Posted by Albert_cambell on (March 3, 2014, 3:12 GMT)

    Best of luck to Afghan team. Do your best and win this game. Hopefully we can see an Afghan Vs Pakistan final.

    Posted by Nuwas on (March 3, 2014, 2:56 GMT)

    If one with SL is they don't take any opposition lightly & never give up till the very end. That's the key to their success in this wonderful game of cricket unlike others. So Afgans will be respected by us as we always do with all oppositions & we will fight hard for our win. Good luck to both teams.

    Posted by Sachit1979 on (March 3, 2014, 2:48 GMT)

    I don't think SL would take it easy after seeing Pakistan getting almost shocked and Bangladesh getting shocked by Afghanistan. They would definitely try not be complacent and taking it as any other crucial game.

    Posted by Vikum72 on (March 3, 2014, 2:41 GMT)

    Good chance for SL to rest few players like Angie, Malinga and Sanga too if he wishes so. One more thing SL can try out given they win the toss, is to undertake to bowl under possible dew conditions. It will be a good training exercise for them to get ready for the up-coming crunch game. Hope AFG could give a good fight to the Sri Lankans but I seriously doubt whether they could topple even a 2nd-string SL side. Sri Lanka is a different side to India or Pakistan. They don't depend on 1 or 2 particular players but play as a team. Also they don't give in no matter what. So AFG though they have performed so well, are very unlikely to take a SL side by surprise. SL also have the added advantage of watching how AFG operate in 2 previouse games.

    Posted by MeijiMura on (March 3, 2014, 2:40 GMT)

    Sri Lanka will be tempting fate if they rest any of their frontline players. I think Malinga has to play no matter what. He is Sri Lanka's best bowler and they need him to get over the line. They would do well to give Ajantha Mendis another game too. As for the batsmen, they need both Jayawardene and Sangakarra in their line-up. Had Umar Akmal been caught on 28 Afghanistan would have beaten Pakistan and had Afghanistan taken their catches against Bangladesh they would have won with a bonus point, so Sri Lanka cannot afford to take Afghanistan lightly in any way, shape or form. I'm sure that unlike Bangladesh they won't no matter who is in the playing XI, but resting players is a dangerous move if they decide to do so. I'll be looking forward to another competitive match. Afghanistan have been very good in their first two games, but can they keep it up?

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 2:30 GMT)

    Afgans seemed to be a better team.. But their fielding especially in hanging on to catches is horrible. They should use more practise where catches win matches in all format of the game. Anyway, with the form SL is in, they have 90% of chance in winning this match. To get open status, all other countries will support Afgan but SL wouldn't mind that. SL beat BNG even with home support. To continue the momentum SL will put their max. effort today. But if Afgan win the toss and decided to bowl first, it would be an interesting contest & hoping for that. But SL are always the favourites.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 2:28 GMT)

    sri lankan team will not take Afgan team as a light team. but um quite suer that the SL will make some surprises during the match.. good luck Lions...

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 2:18 GMT)

    Good luck to both teams tomorrow! Afghanistan doesn't necessarily need to win, they have no pressure on them but i believe they can give a very good fight..hopefully they can get test status soon and the sport can grow well in their country. I think a Pak vs SL final is what we are looking at if SL doesn't loose to Afg.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 2:03 GMT)

    For Afg, picking Malinga, Mendis and Sachithra will be a daunting task...

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 2:01 GMT)

    No doubt we can expect wave of toe crushers from Malinga. Any new team will find it difficult to pick Malinga's Yorkers and slow bouncers .. Good luck afghans

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 1:52 GMT)

    Afghanistan can terrorize any bowling line-up in the world at the moment. They are the worlds best. I would like to see a test match between the afghans and australia. It will be awesome. Afghanistan is the favorite for this one guys. Sri Lanka will not cause the upset.

    Posted by stonk on (March 3, 2014, 1:49 GMT)

    Another Indian supporter doing wishful thinking. India can only beat Bangladesh but Sri Lanka have to beat Bangladesh or Afghanistan to qualify for the final.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 1:44 GMT)

    Good chance for the SLs to get a place in the final of 2014 Asia Cup.. No point in taking a chance by resting the big guns. Afg is a promising team which will come good with time as this young team getting more and more experience... But for today, I believe it will be a one sided affair as Slinga, Mendis, Senanayake will be really hard to pick as Afg has never played against them.. If SL bat first and get something above 250, they will have this young Afg team under a lot of pressure...

    Posted by ISB_ACC on (March 3, 2014, 1:32 GMT)

    SL VS ASSOCIATE MEMBER WATCH OUT.... WORLD RECORDS ARE COMING....... CAN AFGAN FACE MALINGA..... OR MENDIS..... I THINK THE AFGAN TOTAL below 150... it is hard to make runs by facing malinga or mendis who haven't face him ever... confotable win for sri lankans + WORLD RECORDS

    Posted by Afta on (March 3, 2014, 1:29 GMT)

    Afghanistan, amazing! They are true entertainers. Its like the "Rags to Riches" story. I am sure they will be beating other test playing countries in about 6-10 years time. The ICC should give them all the support they need. Best of luck for the Sri Lankan game. As for Sri Lanka, they should win this game and book their spot for the finals. Hope Chandimal can adjust his mentality and approach the game as though he is playing school cricket, that way he might score some runs...! what a disaster.

    Posted by SubContinentFan on (March 3, 2014, 1:00 GMT)

    Afgans show promise. Hope they become the next big gun from the subcontinent. But, I don't see them beating SL in this particular match. Unlike BD, SL is a strong side at the moment.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 0:57 GMT)

    Chandimal and Jayawardene should not play this match.

    Posted by   on (March 3, 2014, 0:14 GMT)

    Thanks a lot for the love and support for Afghanistan we truly appreciate and we do respect and love you Lankans. I am delighted with your love and respect. Sri lanka are this tournament favorites and by beating india and pak there is no doubt about their ability to be so. I am just concerned about Afghanistan batting line up if tomorrow Mohammad Shahzad started a good innings then they can be hard to beat. I think sri lanka should win but afghans will give them a hard time for sure. Proud of AFGHANISTAN TEAM.

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 23:35 GMT)

    Mahela should open with Kusal. Mahela and Thirimanne should swtich their position one after other.

    Posted by saeed_anwar_coverdrive on (March 2, 2014, 23:26 GMT)

    Apart from fielding Afghanistan were top class in last game, if they keep performing like this in 5 year time they will be a full member nation and playing superb cricket against all sides. this said however their chances in this game r rare, lankans are just such a gud side. Hope now we win against bangla and pak vs lanka final will be a great match to watch. On a separate note wont mind if Afghans beat India :)))) haha. Meant no disrespect to Indian fans but u know.............

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 23:00 GMT)

    well done sl

    Posted by BlackHawk on (March 2, 2014, 22:23 GMT)

    Some of the Sri Lankan fans are very confident of a victory tomorrow! I'm a Lankan fan but I don't think it will be that straightforward. If we underestimate them we WILL lose!!!Really looking forward to the match

    Posted by AneYako on (March 2, 2014, 22:19 GMT)

    Sorry Afghan fans...SL is no Bangladesh. Especially since they are saying they won't take you lightly

    Posted by KingSalz on (March 2, 2014, 22:18 GMT)

    Love Sri Lanka. Great team, true gentlemen of the game. But not supporting Afghanistan is like, not supporting Pakistan. Afghanistan is officially the team I will support in the absence of Pakistan not playing. #ComeOnYouTigers. Get it trending. I just need to get one of them beautiful Afghanistan flags now.

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 21:37 GMT)

    Afganistan have fast bowlers whereas srilanka has nothing to compare. Also Dishan not there and they cant score fast runs. Hope they cross 200. Tirimanne cant play fast. Jayawardene not in form. Only sangakara can mange may be 50. Angelo mathews cant expect. His captaincy never win. good luck agfgans. Three cheers for their win today

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 21:16 GMT)

    I'm a die-hard SL fan, but for some weird reason i'd like tomorrow's game to be a close fight and Afghanistan to emerge as the winners. :)

    Posted by YsaKaru on (March 2, 2014, 20:58 GMT)

    do not rest anyone in the before sl team plz.hopefully kusal get 64+ runs bcoz 64 is his unlucky number(he got out quite a few times in 64).and also hopefully mahela and chandi get some runs and back in to good form.

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 20:53 GMT)

    Last two games were very close for Sri Lanka and upset here is possible if they rest Sanga. I think Afgans bowlers should do well against Sri Lankan batting line up. They have two pathetic players ( Mahela & Chandimal ) in the middle order, who`s playing because of past glory and has done nothing for the last 2-3 years and blocking the chances of other young players. If Sri Lanka wants to do well in the next World cup they have to get rid of these two player. I don`t understand how pathetic they are against spin when they come under pressure.

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 20:53 GMT)

    Thumbs and Respects to all !! I am an Afghan I fell afghanistan will win match becuase afghanistan has a good bowlers

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 20:38 GMT)

    ???? The final will be Sri Lanka versus Pakistan. has anyone even viewed the points table? Even if either of Bangladesh or India win with a bonus point in their final match, Pakistan beating Afghanistan (as superior bowling nearly always wins matches and Pakistan seem focused) ensures a SL final. The idea of Afghanistan beating SL seems to be being promoted only by bangladeshy fans who have dealt with their savage loss by dreaming that Afghanistan are actually really awesome. But basically the final is a fait de compli. The Pakistan v India match was a virtual semi-final.

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 20:30 GMT)

    Srilankan Team are a very good team. But will be looking for another upset as it will make the tournament totally open and still everybody will have to make it to the finals. An exciting tournament just b4 the t 20 world cup.

    Hope to see full strength Bangladesh team in the t 20 world cup. if Bangladesh can regain their momentum, Bangladesh will show once again the world what they are capable of. It is good to have timely alarms b4 the main tournament.

    Posted by shahbazhussain on (March 2, 2014, 20:29 GMT)

    Woow! a lot of heat! a lot of respect for Aghanistan. Well being Pakistani I want Afghanistan to win this game. I wished if they had turned the table against Pakistan. 117/7. that was awesome performance. If they had won that match it would have been alot of respect from all corners of the world. Win over a Test nation is a perfect gift from any Associate to the world that they have been chosen as they have the guts. I like that! I like that! Afghan Tigers GO for it! We back you. SL fans, sorry for that but you know I love sanga too but I want Afghan to win this game just for fun!

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 20:19 GMT)

    It's obvious Sri Lanka is clear favourites, but I am sure Afghanistan got plenty to offer in all departments, which means they have the ability to push Sri Lanka over the edge, that's if they work on their game plan and don't be overwhelmed by the occasion. I predict Sri Lanka win, but as an AFG supporter I pray Afghanistan wins. Peace

    Posted by Herath-UK on (March 2, 2014, 20:13 GMT)

    Do not rest Sanga Kusal etc who can go for the MOS award. However a bowler like Malinga if needs a rest good opportunity. Afg is just an upcoming country even a loss resting valuable players should not prevent it looking at the bigger picture.

    Posted by wapuser on (March 2, 2014, 20:10 GMT)

    One of the strong points of the Sri Lankans is the fact that they take any team seriously. This takes the element of surprise out of a potent associate member side like Afghanistan when pitted against Sri Lanka.The Lankans could still lose to Afghanistan in this game of glorious uncertainties but not for underestimating tthem and therefore being surprised by them.

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 20:10 GMT)

    Good luck both sides

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 19:41 GMT)

    Can't take Afg lightly. Not just the win against Bangladesh, but their bowlers had their way against Pak too (130/7), until Akmal's special innings. Had they held on to that simple catch, they might have a good chance of a win there too.

    An Afg win here will also make the tournament interesting, opening up the gate for the finals. But if SL win, the next two games become useless to watch.

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 19:37 GMT)

    no way , resting a big players will be equal to choking with inform Afghanistan.. win this game and secure your finals spot and then you can rest players for the Bangladesh match , you will get 5 days rest .. that's more than enough for a player.

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 19:33 GMT)

    If I sums up the popular view...everyone want Afgan to beat SL. I guess they are the Cinderella in the tournament and since our island only have 21 Mill we don't see any comments from Small SL fan base to say that SL is dominant and regardless of the final outcome, they are the best team in league games in any big tournaments, may it be Asia cup or the grand daddy of them all the "world cup". However i like the recent history of SL and They won lot of close games is the past few weeks and I'm beginning to believe that they are destined for bigger glory than the Asia cup, in the future!!! Kusal, Angelo, Sachithra and Chathuranga looks like match winner in any day and I'm impressed with their calmness and positive attitude in the middle. Besides there is mighty Sanga and Malinga shadowing the clan and will step in if needed. The rest of the 5 ain't that shabby either.....

    Posted by hamidafghan on (March 2, 2014, 19:28 GMT)

    Thumbs and Respects to all !! I am an Afghan.I fell proud to have such a supporting environment , and Thanks for best wishes ,Inshallah our Afghan Tigers will put a better show on Monday against LANKS ......

    Posted by hamidafghan on (March 2, 2014, 19:26 GMT)

    Thumbs and Respects to all !! I am an Afghan.I fell proud to have such a supporting environment , and Thanks for best wishes ,Inshallah our Afghan Tigers will put a better show on Monday against LANKS ......

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 19:19 GMT)

    Sri Lanka shal rest Malinga and Sanga...push Chandi and Mahi up...bring in Priyanjan and prasad or someone....dont mess with the openers...Thiri and Kusal hav had great starts touchwood...

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 19:16 GMT)

    Good Luck Afghanistan playing Malinga & Mendis

    SL should give Ashen Priyanyan a go!

    Posted by BDKu on (March 2, 2014, 19:05 GMT)

    Play well against Afgans and give rest to anyone with Bangladesh as you have to make sure of making the finals. Chandimal and Mahela need some time in the middle. May be open with Mahela, Afgans will find SL spin tougher than the Bangladeshi spin, so hopefully SL will play an additional spinner, Malinga may be a tough one for them as they have not played much against him as well.

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 19:01 GMT)

    BD lost to Afgan but if Tameem n Shakib was there, BD could hv beatn india too. So we SL can take this game lightly, rest Sanga,Malinga,Senanayake who hv done really well n not much to prove. get Priyanjan, Vithanage n Prasad in. And play full team against BD again

    Posted by Varuna-Bhushana on (March 2, 2014, 18:59 GMT)

    SL is the true champions. Let bubble of media is blown to pieces best wishes from UK to AFG and SL teams.

    Posted by mihir_nam on (March 2, 2014, 18:55 GMT)

    ICC its high time you realize that either Bangladesh and Zimbabwe belong to IC Cup or Ireland and Afghanistan belong to Test League .. please take decision soon

    Posted by DauD_ on (March 2, 2014, 18:49 GMT)

    Sri Lanka are obviously the clear favourites in this match, but by no means is it a guaranteed win. Afghanistan clearly have what it takes to cause an upset, and SL better be careful or else they may end up losing this match. Afghanistan are more dangerous than Bangladesh

    Posted by afghan_cric_lover on (March 2, 2014, 18:42 GMT)

    Inshallah Afghanistan will give tough time to srilanka ,,srilanka will not win it easy it will be really tough match and i hope afghanistan wins it im looking forward for Hamed Hassan i hope he is fit for tomarrow match

    Posted by not_a_Flattrackbully on (March 2, 2014, 18:40 GMT)

    So AFGn showed a great decipline in the last ODI with BD. They got a bright future and they've that ability. Mentaly and physicaly. Let's see how afgns deel with malinga mendis and KJP. Cheer! For the both teams. Unhappy about the saying of musfiqur on last press in case of SL!

    Posted by Blade-Runner on (March 2, 2014, 18:38 GMT)

    @abcdef_12345 ; Agree. Whenever Sri lanka play an associate, they not only win the match, but set a few world records too. :) Anyway I hope that SL win the toss , put them to bat first and chase whatever they post without any fuss.

    Posted by Prabhash1985 on (March 2, 2014, 18:29 GMT)

    Sri Lanka must give due respect to the good balls, and should not take things lightly. The other two teams who had tough times, i.e. Pakistan and Bangladesh, didn't give enough respect to good deliveries, and just threw away their wickets. Afghanistan players seem to very strong, and they are a sporty nation. So, I think, even though they are new to cricket, they have the natural ability to play good. Only thing they lack is the experience, but I think it'll be a good match. Pakistan is a great side, and they were in a tough situation though they won it. Should play carefully. Hopefully, Sri Lanka will play a careful innings, and bag this to reach the finals. All the best, two teams.

    Posted by FawltyBean on (March 2, 2014, 18:27 GMT)

    I don't think Sri Lanka going to take Afghanistan lightly and rest any of their big guns for this game. They will want to win this with their best players, Afghans are much tougher opponents than Bangladesh. If they win tomorrow then best players will get the game off with Bangladesh.

    Posted by DwightR on (March 2, 2014, 18:26 GMT)

    I SL fan that is a big supporter of Ireland & Afghanistan but no chance they upset Sri Lanka!

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 18:23 GMT)

    a cakewalk for srilankan team... they will definitely get a bonus point in this game... good chance for mahela and chandimal to come into their usual form...

    Posted by British_North_America on (March 2, 2014, 18:23 GMT)

    As a BD fan, I think AFG can upset BD, IND or PAK but not SL.

    Posted by   on (March 2, 2014, 18:20 GMT)

    Afgan will find Ajantha Mendis hard to face, SL should rest Sanga and Lasith

    Posted by yorkslanka on (March 2, 2014, 18:11 GMT)

    with all due respect to Afghanistan, i would expect our boys to win this match- however- nothing is guaranteed in this wonderful sport of ours..Watching the Afghan performance against Ban,they did very well and looked very organised. I wish them lots of luck and they deserve many successes in the future the way they play the game. I naturally want a SL win but good luck to both teams.. Hopefully we will perservere with Chandimal and Mahela BUT chandi should bat in between Sanga and Mahela at #4, with Mathews at 5 and Mahela at 6..

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    Tournament Results
    Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Dhaka - Mar 8, 2014
    Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets (with 22 balls remaining)
    Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Dhaka - Mar 6, 2014
    Sri Lanka won by 3 wickets (with 6 balls remaining)
    Afghanistan v India at Dhaka - Mar 5, 2014
    India won by 8 wickets (with 106 balls remaining)
    Bangladesh v Pakistan at Dhaka - Mar 4, 2014
    Pakistan won by 3 wickets (with 1 ball remaining)
    Afghanistan v Sri Lanka at Dhaka - Mar 3, 2014
    Sri Lanka won by 129 runs
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