Sri Lanka, the reigning Asia Cup champions from the T20 edition in 2022, have faced their fair share of hurdles in the lead-up to this tournament. Injuries to players such as Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, and Dilshan Madhushanka, along with Kusal Perera’s recovery from a COVID-19 infection, have strained their lineup.
Additionally, their performance in ODIs this year has been lacklustre, starting with a 0-3 defeat against India and a subsequent 0-2 loss to New Zealand. While they found success against Afghanistan and performed well in the ICC Qualifiers, Sri Lanka acknowledge the need to step up against top opponents.
Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, and Charith Asalanka, Sri Lanka’s leading run-scorers this year, will be pivotal in their quest to challenge Bangladesh. Captain Dasun Shanaka’s contribution with the bat will also be crucial. The bowling department will rely on spinner Maheesh Theekshana and pacer Kasun Rajitha to fill the void left by injured bowlers.
On the other side, Bangladesh face similar hurdles, missing players like Tamim Iqbal, Ebadot Hossain, and Litton Das due to injuries. They too have struggled in ODIs this year, experiencing defeats against England and Afghanistan. A victory over Ireland offered some solace, but the team recognizes the need for consistent performances against stronger opponents.
With Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Najmul Shanto, and Towhid Hridoy delivering notable batting performances, Bangladesh possesses the potential to shine. However, their bowling unit, led by Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, and Taskin Ahmed, must step up to face formidable rivals like England and India.
As rain predictions loom, both teams are conscious of the role net run rate could play in determining their fate in the tournament. A win in their opening match will be crucial as they brace for challenging encounters against Afghanistan in Group B. In a tournament where the stakes are high and the competition fierce, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh aim to overcome their obstacles and set their Asia Cup campaigns on the path to success.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Pathum Nissanaka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis (vc), Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Matheesha Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha, Dushan Hemantha, Binura Fernando, Pramod Madushan.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Najmul Hossain Shanto, Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain Dhrubo, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Nasum Ahmed, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Naim Sheikh, Shamim Hossain, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Anamul Haque Bijoy.
Match starts at 3pm IST.