Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan: Najibullah Zadran Packs a Punch and Is Arguably Best Batter in Limited Overs Cricket

  • Afghanistan recently played a five-match series against Ireland, losing by 3-2.
  • Sri Lanka last played T20Is in June and have lost five of the last six games.
  • Afghanistan have an edge over Sri Lanka with a superior bowling attack.

Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Odds

Team Odds
Sri Lanka -250
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Afghanistan +200
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Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Prediction and Pick

Afghanistan and Sri Lanka have faced each other once in the T20 format back in 2016 when the latter came out on top. Looking at the recent form and the squad composition of both sides, Afghanistan should win this Group B fixture on Saturday.

Afganistan to win (+200)

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Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan

Predicted XI

Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Kusal Mendis (wk), Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Matheesha Pathirana, Maheesh Theekshana

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani, Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi

Afghanistan Start Favourites Against Injury-Struck Sri Lanka

Afghanistan and Sri Lanka will kick off the Asia Cup 2022 with a clash on August 27th. Six teams grouped into two will compete for the title in the T20 format. The Group B fixture will take place at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Sri Lanka faced Australia at home in June and managed to win the third T20I after losing the first two. A victory they dedicated to their countrymen in crisis. Before Australia, they had toured India in February and were defeated by 3-0. With not enough gametime coming into the tournament, Sri Lanka will need to hit their straps quickly.

Afghanistan, on the other hand, completed their five-match T20I series against Ireland just recently. They lost the first two matches but bounced back with back to back victories to level the series. Afghanistan then ended up on the losing side in the series decider – a rain-affected contest that went down to the wire.

Team News

Sri Lanka, led by Dasun Shanaka, will be without their pace spearhead Dushmantha Chameera for this tournament as the pacer is ruled out with a calf strain. Kasun Rajitha and Binura Fernando are also unavailable due to injuries. The alternative options like Matheesha Pathirana and Dilshan Madushanka are inexperienced. As such the spin department of Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana and Jeffrey Vandersay will have to do the heavy work. In the batting unit, a lot will depend on how Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Dasun Shanaka perform.

Afghanistan have a batting line-up that includes Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Usman Ghani, Najibullah Zadran and Ibrahim Zadran – four of whom that performed well in the recent series. They will expect more from the likes of Hazratullah Zazai, Azmatullah Omarzai and Mohammad Nabi. Rashid Khan went wicketless for three games but has found form with both ball and bat. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqi form a good attack alongside Rashid and Nabi.

Key Players

Najibullah Zadran: The 29yr old packs a punch and is arguably Afghanistan’s best batter in limited overs cricket. The left-hander batter has a terrific record in the shorter format overall as well as at the international level. He has scored 1487 runs in 68 innings in international cricket at an average of 33 while striking at 142. Zadran has eight fifties to his credit. Najibullah was excellent in a couple of matches against Ireland, smashing 42 off 18 in the third game and 50 off 24 in the fourth clash.

Wanindu Hasaranga: The leg-spinner has risen to the top tier of T20 superstars with consistent performances over the last couple of years. He has an outstanding record in T20 internationals, having claimed 62 wickets from just 38 games at an economy of 6.61 while striking every 12.8 deliveries. Hasaranga has picked two four-wicket hauls at this level. Hasaranga has been in great form in both fifty-over and T20 format in domestic cricket. The 25yr old is a more than handy batter and has shown his potential time and again. He recently smashed 69* off 41 in an SLC Invitational T20 League.

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How to Watch Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan

Teams Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, Group B
Location Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Time Saturday, 27th August, 7:30 PM IST/2 PM GMT
How to watch Star Sports Network/Disney+ Hotstar (India), SportsMax (Caribbean), Fox Sports & Channel 7 (Australia), Sky Sport NZ (New Zealand), SuperSport (Afghanistan), Willow TV (USA), Sky Sports Cricket (United Kingdom)

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Rohit Sankar

Expert on Top Picks

Rohit is a cricket enthusiast striving to convey the finer details of the game in a capsule. He hopes to present a bird's eye view of the game, as he sees it, to the readers. He is smitten by the likes of ABD but crushes on pace bowlers who can make the ball talk. Email: [email protected]

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