Sri Lanka will face Bangladesh in the opening match of Group B to be played at Palleke International Stadium, Kandy on 31st August 2023 from 3:00 PM onwards. Both teams will be looking to perform as they are struggling with injuries.
Sri Lanka will be without Hasranaga, Lahiru Kumara, Dilshan Madhushanka, and Chameera. On the other hand, Bangladesh would miss the service of Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, and Ebadot Hossain. Despite the injuries, both teams have good-quality players that can change the course of the game.
The last time both teams met in 50 over Asia Cup in 2018, Bangladesh thrashed Sri Lanka comfortably. It promises to be an exciting encounter and there will be key battles that will decide the fate of the game.
Here we look at the 5 Key Player Battles to Watch Out for in the Asia Cup Match Between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
1. Taskin Ahmed vs Pathum Nissanka
The pitch at Palleke International Stadium, Kandy supports the pacers initially. Taskin Ahmed has the ability to bowl with great control and pace that can trouble the best batters in the world.
Taskin dismissed Pathum Nissanka during the 3rd One-day international match against Bangladesh in 2021 off the very first delivery. Nissanka had a decent record in One-day international cricket and would be opening with Dimuth Karauante. It will be an interesting battle between these two key players as both teams look to begin the tournament on a high.
2. Kusal Mendis vs Mustzfizur Rahman
Kusal Mendis has a decent record in the One-day international format with 2945 runs from 106 matches. His average against Bangladesh left-arm pacer Mustzfizur Rahman goes down badly.
Mendis has scored 51 runs from 74 deliveries including 44 dot balls while Mustzfizur Rahman dismissed him twice. It will be an interesting battle between these top players from both sides. Kusal Mendis would come at number 3 and depending upon the situation, he would be eager to change the fortune against Bangladesh pacer this time around.
3 Mushfiqur Rahim vs Binuara Fernando
Sri Lanka is without their 4 key players in this year’s Asia Cup due to injuries including Hasranaga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, and Madhushanka. The left-arm pace bowler Binuara Fernando has been named as a replacement for Madhushanka.
On the other hand, Mushfiqur Rahim will be the key player for Bangladesh in the absence of Tamim Iqbal. Rahim has scored just 5 runs from 7 deliveries and dismissed zero times including 2 dots. Bangladesh will depend on the experience of Rahim to post a decent total while Fernando would be looking to pick wickets for Sri Lanka to stop from Bangladesh winning the match.
4. Mehidy Hasan Miraz vs Kusal Perera
One of the interesting battles in today’s encounter will be Bangladesh’s key spin bowler Mehidy Hasan Miraz taking on Sri Lanka’s attacking batter Kusal Perera. The last time these two bowlers met in a One Day International was during a series in Bangladesh.
Kusal Perera looked impressive with his shots early before the off-spinner was bought into the attack and dismissed the dangerous Kusal Perera. Bangladesh would be hoping that Mehidy Hasan Miraz does his job with the ball again by getting rid of Kusal Perera making life tough for Sri Lankan batters.
5. Mahesh Theekshana vs Shakib AL Hasan
Mahesh Theekshana will look to pick up the wicket of Bangladesh captain Shakib AL Hasan in today’s encounter. Theekshana performed well in the recently concluded Lanka Premier League.
Shakib AL Hasan would lead the side in the absence of Tamim Iqbal. Bangladesh would be hoping for his experience to come through in tough situations. Theekshana has not performed well in the One-day international format. His variations can trouble and pick up the wicket of Shakib AL Hasan so that Sri Lanka can put enough pressure on the Bangladesh batting lineup.