The 2022 Asian Cup kicks off with the opening game of the tournament between original hosts Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. The Asian Cricket Council had to move the tournament to the United Arab Emirates due to the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
Despite what is happening at home, Sri Lanka are said to be determined to do well in the shorter format of the game and take the first step towards knockout progression by winning their opener against Afghanistan.
With Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the same group, it will be interesting to see which of these three teams advance to the next round.
The Lankans have won the tournament 5 times while this is only Afghanistan’s third participation in the continental event.
When it comes to the pitch, spinners are likely to gain some advantage, both due to the nature of the wicket and the dimensions of the ground. Expect the captain who wins the toss to choose to play first.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Najibullah Zadran, Charith Asalanka, Pathum Nissanka (C), Mohammad Nabi, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga (VC), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Maheesh Theekshana
Sri Lanka probably plays 11:
Pathum Nissanka (wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Chamika Karunaratne, Asitha Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay
Afghanistan probably plays 11:
Najibullah Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Usman Ghani, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Mohammad Nabi (c), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad, Karim Janat
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (c), Najibullah Zadran, Afsar Zazai, Azmatullah Omarzai, Farid Ahmad Malik, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Karim Janat, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Naveen ul Haq, Noor Ahmad, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shinwari. In reserve: Nijat Masood, Qais Ahmed, Sharafuddin Ashraf.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Ashen Bandara, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Chamika Karunaratne, Dilshan Madushanka, Matheesha Pathirana, Nuwanidu Fernando, Nuwan Thusara, Dinesh Chandimal.