Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka, Asia Cup Match No. 1 – Fantasy Preview with Predicted Playing XIs, Venue Details, Relevant Stats & Full Fantasy XI
Dubai International Cricket Stadium – Venue Notes
- Average First Innings Score in T20s since 2018: 146
- Bat First vs Bowl First since 2018: Win% batting first – 50; Win% chasing – 50
- AFG-SL Players in the top 10 leading run-scorers list since 2018: None
- AFG-SL Players in the top 10 leading wicket-takers list since 2018: None
This will be the first match at this venue since the 2021 T20 World Cup final, and the pitch’s behaviour will have changed in 9 months. The fast bowlers will benefit from the early games, and the long boundaries at this venue will support the bowlers, particularly the spinners and pacers with good variations.
The team chasing won 12 of the 13 games in the 2021 T20 World Cup in Dubai, so expect the team that wins the toss to choose to bowl first, despite reports of less dew in the last four days.
Predicted Playing XI
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz(wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Usman Ghani, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi(c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Charith Asalanka, Kusal Mendis(wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka(c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Matheesha Pathirana, Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka
Asia Cup 2022, Game 1 Stat Box
- Azmatullah Omarzai in all T20s since 2018: 14 wickets and 253 runs at 30/121 in 18 innings
- Fareed Ahmad in all T20s since 2018: 15 wickets in 14 matches
- Hazratullah Zazai vs off-spin in all T20s since 2018: 236 runs at 26/122 in 26 innings
- Najibullah Zadran vs off-spin in all T20s since 2018:158 runs at 18/101 in 29 innings
- Mujeeb Ur Rahman in all T20s since 2018: 167 wickets in 153 innings
- Hazratullah Zazai vs LAP in all T20s since 2018: 9 dismissals and 342 runs at 41/144 in 37 innings
- D Gunathilaka in the PP in all T20s since 2018: Dismissed 31 times in 49 innings, at 35/139
- D Gunathilaka vs leg spin (Overs 7-20) in all T20s since 2018: 6 dismissals in 11 innings at 9/112
- Bhanuka Rajapaksa vs leg spin (Overs 7-20) in all T20s since 2018: 183 runs at 44/135 in 22 innings
- Dasun Shanaka at the death in all T20s since 2018: 673 runs at 191 SR in 41 innings
- Asitha Fernando’s recent form: 10 wickets in last 4 domestic T20s
- Kusal Mendis’s recent form: 56*, 86, 30, 34
Afghanistan – Fantasy Notes
- Afghanistan has an LHB-RHB opening combination and 2 LHBs in the top 5. They also have 8 batting options (including Azmatullah Omarzai).
- Gurbaz and Zazai can use the powerplay to their advantage against an inexperienced SL pace attack. If they can get off to a good start, a big opening partnership is not out of the question. Consider a scenario in which the openers do a lot of heavy lifting in a low target chase in one of your combinations.
- Rashid Khan is Afghanistan’s best fantasy bet in this match, as he has the ability to run through the Sri Lankan middle order that is vulnerable to wrist spin, especially if pressure is applied early on by Naveen-ul-Haq and the off-spinners.
Sri Lanka – Fantasy Notes
- The Sri Lankan team has 3 LHBs in the top 5, which increases Mujeeb and Nabi’s fantasy potential significantly.
- Gunathilaka has been dismissed in more than half of his innings in the powerplay. Outside of the powerplay, he has a poor record against leg spin and will have to contend with off-spinners as well.
- Dasun Shanaka, despite batting at No. 6, is a player to keep an eye on because he has proven to be a good hitter in the death overs. He could also bring himself on to bowl a few medium-pace overs. It would be a tactical mistake not to include him in some of our first-choice fantasy combinations.
- Shanaka has hinted at a possible seam attack with two main fast bowlers in addition to Chamika Karunaratne, one of whom is likely to be a left-armer. As a result, Praveen Jayawickrama (SLAO) will miss the opening match against Afghanistan.
- Bench options – Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva are the 2 big names on the bench. Pathum Nissanka, who has been in poor form recently, could be replaced directly by one of Chandimal or de Silva, with Kusal Mendis moving up to open the innings.
- Pathum Nissanka: 66 runs at 22/106 vs Australia & 41 runs 14/63 in the SLC Invitational T20 comp
WK: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Kusal Mendis
BAT: Najibullah Zadran, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka
AR: Wanindu Hasaranga(c), Mohammad Nabi, Dasun Shanaka
BOWL: Rashid Khan(vc), Maheesh Theekshana, Naveen-ul-Haq
C/VC: Wanindu Hasaranga, Rashid Khan
Differentials: Chamika Karunaratne (7%), Fazalhaq Farooqi (9%)
C/VC Differentials: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (4.8%), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (7.8%)
Note: Return after 15 minutes of toss for a fully updated XI.
Stats Credit: Cricinfo and Cricmetric