SL v UAE, Asia Cup, Dhaka February 24, 2016

Experienced SL a test for UAE's T20 cred


Match facts

Thursday, February 25, 2016
Start time 1930 local (1330 GMT)

Play 00:59
'Lucky to have this kind of practice before WT20' - Herath

Big Picture

After the 2-1 loss in India, Sri Lanka have a chance to ease their way into the Asia Cup by taking on the UAE in their first match. The return of the captain Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath and Nuwan Kulasekara will give the team a major boost as they look to start gathering themselves ahead of the World T20, where they have a title to defend.

Sri Lanka have a well-balanced side for these two tournaments with an experienced batting line-up consisting of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal, Mathews and Chamara Kapugedara. The bowling attack has seam allrounders Dasun Shanaka and Thisara Perera, spin allrounders Shehan Jayasuriya and Milinda Siriwardana, as well as experienced spinners like Herath and Sachithra Senanayake. Legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay is a newcomer and could be a surprise package.

The game against UAE will give Sri Lanka an opportunity to figure out how they can balance their spin and seam allrounders, with special focus on Jayasuriya and Siriwardana. There is also the question of whether Kapugedara will be able to use his vast experience in Mirpur to Sri Lanka's advantage.

The match will be a major test for UAE as they look to continue their good form from the qualifiers, where they won all three matches against Afghanistan, Oman and Hong Kong. Some new match-winners have emerged, which could help them not be just another Associate participant among the big boys. Watch out for Rohan Mustafa, Muhammad Kaleem, Muhammad Usman, Mohammad Naveed and Shaiman Anwar.

Sri Lanka have historically been ruthless against Associates, so there is danger of this game ending up as a no-contest early in the evening. That should be motivation enough for UAE to make sure they remain in the contest.

Form Guide

(last five completed matches)

Sri Lanka LLWLL

Watch out for

Lasith Malinga last played a T20 series against West Indies in November before injuring his knee. He is back in Sri Lanka's leadership, and like the rest of the line-up, will slowly wade into action. His vast experience will be a test for UAE.

UAE will have Rohan Mustafa tackling the likes of Malinga first up. Mustafa is one of the new UAE stars who can be expected to put up a fight as they look to give a good impression of themselves against a major opponent. His offspin, too, will be handy in his side's bid to keep Sri Lanka down to a manageable total.

Team news

The big call for Sri Lanka is whether to play Herath ahead of their seam allrounders, given how Mirpur has been good for seam bowling on certain evenings. Sri Lanka could also be in a dilemma about Kulasekara, while Jayasuriya and Vandersay are handy spin options.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Niroshan Dikwella (wk), 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Dinesh Chandimal, 4 Angelo Mathews, 5 Milinda Siriwardana, 6 Chamara Kapugedara, 7 Dasun Shanaka, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Sachithra Senanayake, 10 Dushmanth Chameera, 11 Lasith Malinga (capt)

UAE are unlikely to go with Zaheer Maqsood, Fahad Tariq and Farhan Ahmed unless there is an injury to one of the players who featured in the victory against Oman in their last qualifying match in Fatullah.

UAE (probable): 1 Rohan Mustafa, 2 Muhammad Kaleem, 3 Mohammad Shahzad, 4 Shaiman Anwar, 5 Muhammad Usman, 6 Amjad Javed (capt), 7 Mohammad Naveed, 8 Saqlain Haider, 9 Ahmed Raza, 10 SP Patil (wk), 11 Qadeer Ahmed

Pitch and conditions

Mirpur had a green top for the Bangladesh-India encounter but it is unlikely that a similar pitch will be greeting Sri Lanka and UAE. A surface devoid of grass and with slower speed can be expected. There is rain in the forecast but nothing that should threaten the game.

Stats and trivia

  • This is the first encounter between Sri Lanka and UAE in T20Is, although the teams have met in ODIs in 2004 and 2008.

  • Shaiman Anwar made only 48 runs in the three qualifying matches, but he is UAE's highest scorer in T20s.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Saurav on February 25, 2016, 13:06 GMT

    Jadeja and Ashwin are the world's best spinners at present in any condition.Herath,Naraine,Senanayake,Shakib,Moin Ali,Tahir all are nowhere compared to the duo of Ashwin-Jadeja. This is the biggest factor for India winning WC.

  • Cricinfouser on February 25, 2016, 13:04 GMT

    I thank UEA easy for SL.

  • yatin on February 25, 2016, 12:58 GMT

    hope SL will able to play 20 overs with 6+ economy...very patheic batting lineup...i m shame to say we r defending champions while we cant even bat 20 overs and put 130 on board...

  • Pasan on February 25, 2016, 12:52 GMT

    I_LOVE_SLC, Shehan has played as an opener & no 3 for colts many times machan. Whoever playing for first 3 positions, I would ask to go after bowling no matter what.

  • Thilina on February 25, 2016, 12:35 GMT

    Chandimal and Dickwella should not be played in same team.The one who picked can open the inning...any how Mathews,kapu,Siri,Dasun ahould be batted respectively at No.3,4,5,6.If they didn't do this they will do same mistake they did in the past..It is t20 you wll have only 120 balls... 1. Dilshan, 2.Chandimal or Dickwella 3.Mathews 4. Kapu 5. Siri 6.Dasun 7.Thisara orShehan 8. Herath 9.Kule 10.Chameera 11. Malinga

  • Giridhar on February 25, 2016, 12:08 GMT

    today Lions will roar definitely, but the fact is forest will not have any other animals to hear this roar.

  • riswanrasik on February 25, 2016, 12:01 GMT

    I would like prefer 1)Dilshan 2)Chandi 3)Kapu 4)Mathews 5)Siri 6) Shanaka 7)Kula 8)Thisa 9)Herath 10)Nalinga 11)Chaneera

  • Rubesh on February 25, 2016, 11:56 GMT

    Hope Sri lanka batting will be improve in this match.. good luck UAE you deserve & qualified main round but its not easy to beat big guns like IND,PAK,SL

  • Yagnesh on February 25, 2016, 11:53 GMT

    It amuses me to read the comments of delusional Bangla fans who even after losing badly to India still calls them as the best team. They need to understand that they still are having the test status due to the mercy of ICC. Their team is in a pathetic state who are not even having players good enough to play domestic cricket in other countries. They need to have a reality check and start developing good players before ICC decides to revoke their test membership.

  • rakibul on February 25, 2016, 11:44 GMT

    @VKOHLITHEGREAT. Great China, the world most populous country has only USA challenge them in Olympics. and where does world second most populous country stands I Olympics? and apart from Cricket where does India rank among other sports? lol. having second most population India only won 2 WC's one T20 and other unknown cups, going by you logic Australia which has similar population to SL has won more WC's and ranked top in many sports.

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