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|Shakib Al Hasan||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||7.0||0||38||2||5.43|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||0||3||0||0||0.00|
|Shakib Al Hasan||9.2||0||31||1||3.32|
The fourteenth edition of Asia's premier cricketing tournament, Asia Cup, is set to commence on 15th of September with six teams locking horns to prove their supremacy over their neighboring teams. India have decided to rest Virat Kohli following a rather long English tour and Rohit Sharma will lead in his absence. With all other nations going in with their full-strength teams the competition is expected to be intense. Also, if the recently concluded Nidahas Trophy is anything to go by, the Asia Cup, too, is going to be a half-month full of intense competition and sheer thrill.
The tournament will be kicked off with the contest between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The two teams clashed in January this year in a tri-series where Sri Lanka prevailed in the final to secure a 79-run win. Bangladesh have shown a lot of improvement since then and the opening game is expected to be a lot closer and competitive.
Bangladesh are coming into this competition oozing with confidence following their 2-1 away series win against West Indies in both T20Is and ODIs. They have done exceedingly well in their recent One Day Internationals with Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal being their major contributors. West Indies bounced back to level the series 1-1 after Bangladesh secured a 48-run win in the opening match, but the visitors sealed the series with an 18-run win in the last match of the series.
Tamim Iqbal will shoulder the responsibility of scoring the bulk of runs given the experience he has under his belt and the form he's in. He is Bangladesh's top run scorer in limited overs cricket and he was brilliant in Bangladesh's tour of West Indies where he scored an aggregate of 287 in three matches. While Rahim wasn't at his fluent best against the Windies, he scored 111 runs at a decent strike rate. Shakib Al Hasan is expected to play a vital role, both with the bat and the ball, but is fitness is still in doubt. His absence will be a massive blow for the Tigers considering the balance he imparts to the team.
Besides Shakib Al Hasan, who's availability is yet to be confirmed for the Asia Cup, Mashrafe Mortaza is a key figure, as far as Bangladesh's bowling attack is concerned. He's just five scalps shy of 250 ODI wickets, the most by any Bangladeshi bowler. The variations of Mehidy Hasan and Mushtafizur Rahman could be handy on a slow surface of Dubai. Their bowling attack is heavily dependent on slower bowlers with a brigade of slow left-arm spinners. They've already proved their worth against Windies in the recently concluded series and if they bowl as well as they've done in their recent games, things could get pretty exciting for them.
Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman.
The island nation suffered a massive blow right before the beginning of the tournament as their middle-order batsman, Dinesh Chandimal, has been ruled out of the tournament. After missing out in the home series against the Proteas due to a violation of the spirit of cricket, he was expected to strengthen Sri Lanka's brittle middle-order. However, much to their woes, he hasn't recovered from the injury he sustained during the domestic T20 competition. Swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman and opener Niroshan Dickwella has replaced him in the 16-man squad and will have a big responsibility to provide the team with a good start with the bat. In addition to Chandimal's absence, Akila Dananjaya, too, will be unavailable for the group matches due to personal reasons.
Their batting rests heavily on their top-order which features the likes of Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, and Niroshan Dickwell. Although Tharanga is their leading run-scorer, he wasn't in best of form with the bat against South Africa. Kusal Perera and Angelo Mathews topped the charts in that series with Mathews and Perera scoring 235 and 179 runs in total respectively in the series.
Dilruwan Perera caused a lot of troubles for the Proteas batsmen as he picked up 16 wickets in the series. With surface expected to be conducive for spin bowling, the absence of Akila Dananjaya could be a telling factor in the match. Having said that, the Islanders have the services of experienced Suranga Lakmal along with Thisara Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, and Angelo Mathews who all have proved their mettle with the ball in the shorter version of the game.
While Sri Lanka's ODI campaign didn't exactly pan out as they'd have wanted in their recently concluded series against South Africa, they should feel pretty confident going up against Bangladesh, considering the stellar record they have against the Tigers. However, the absence of Dinesh Chandimal and Akila Dananjaya has left a void in their batting lineup and bowling attack respectively, and it would be interesting to see how the Islanders deal with it.
WU Tharanga, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis , Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Amila Aponso, Dilruwan Perera.
Although the surface is expected to be on a slower side, there will be a little bit of uncertainty about its behavior. This will tempt the captain winning the toss to bowl first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
With the temperature expected to touch 40 degrees on the match-day and humidity forecasted to be on the higher side, it's going to be a harsh day to play. The runs-per-wicket number for this venue stands at 28.59 which isn't really on the higher side. Having said that, it is the beginning of the cricketing season in Dubai and the track won't be as slow as they're known to be. It will be an overall batting-friendly surface with batsmen expected to get full value for their shots. Having said that, expect some assistance for slower bowlers once the ball gets older. The best time to score will be during the powerplay overs and both the teams will be looking to take advantage of it.
With ICC Cricket World Cup just 10 months away, this tournament could be an ideal preparation ground for the Asian teams. Both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are likely to miss the services of their key players in Shakib Al Hasan and Dinesh Chandimal. Although the Islanders enjoy a better stats against the Tigers historically, the Tigers will be buoyed by the confidence of their win against West Indies. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, lost the series against the Proteas 3-0 before they claimed a couple of consolation wins to finish the series at 3-2. With an excellent amalgamation of youth and experience and availability of bowlers who are known to thrive on slow surfaces, Bangladesh are more likely to prevail and start their Asia Cup 2018 campaign on a high note.
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