The 13th edition of one-day Asia Cup is set to kick off from Saturday with Bangladesh taking on Sri Lanka in the first match of Group B at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
After 23 long years, Asia Cup is back to United Arab Emirates. Although the hosts could not make their way to the main stage, six teams will compete for the Asian glory.
World no.7 Bangladesh and world no.8 Sri Lanka have faced each other several times since 2017. Bangladesh toured Sri Lanka last year and then Sri Lanka made return tour to Bangladesh in January-February this year. Again, Tigers travelled to the island country to take part in Nidahas Trophy in March.
Bangladesh registered their biggest ODI win by 163 runs over Sri Lanka in a tri-series this year. However, the Lankans went on to win the series.
Bangladesh will look to start on a winning note against Sri Lanka. Bangladesh squad is quite evenly balanced between the seniors and others. Sri Lanka have been hit by the absence of Akila Dananjaya (waiting for the birth of first child), Dinesh Chandimal and Danushka Gunathilaka (both ruled out with injuries).
Sri Lanka could have the advantage of visiting UAE frequently when they played Pakistan. Bangladesh have not played any international match here since April 1995. Although some of their players have taken part in leagues which held in UAE.
Sri Lanka will be delighted with their vastly experienced fast bowler Lasith Malinga returning to the team. Sri Lanka are likely to use one specialist spinner, Dilruwan Perera, in the match. Dhananjaya de Silva could be picked in the XI.
Bangladesh are likely to continue pace bowling combination of Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain and skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza. Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Shakib Al Hasan are the only two spinners. Shakib will bat at no.3 while Liton Das is favourite to open the innings. Either of Mohammad Mithun or Ariful Haque will fill no.7 spot.
Likely playing XIs:
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews (captain), Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (capt), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman