Asia Cup, SL vs AFG, Super 4: Key player battles
Sri Lanka will be raring to avenge the opening day defeat against Afghanistan in the first match of Super 4 in Asia Cup 2022. SL eked out a two-wicket win over Bangladesh to claim a top-two finish in Group B. Afghanistan will look to extend their two-match win streak. Both sides have stars lined up for this enthralling contest. We decode the player battles.
Kusal Mendis vs Fazalhaq Farooqi
Kusal Mendis can shred any attack on his day. He gave a testimony of the same against Australia earlier this year, and lately, against Bangladesh. He smacked a 37-ball 60 to cut the 184-run chase. Afghanistan will bank on Fazalhaq Farooqi to uproot the former as was the case in their last meet. The left-arm quick's incoming deliveries to the right-handers hold a threat.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman vs Charith Asalanka
Mujeeb Ur Rahman has been unplayable in the ongoing tournament. The off-spinner has feasted five scalps at 8.00. He bowls quick and has the variations to upset the batters. Charith Asalanka, who is an able player of spin, can counter Mujeeb. The southpaw averages 27.33 against spinners in T20Is, striking at over 120.00. A note-worthy knock might be right around the corner for Asalanka.
Rashid Khan vs Dasun Shanaka
Afghanistan will be expecting a Rashid Khan masterclass to make light work of Lankan's middle-order. His leg breaks and googlies are hard to read. SL skipper Dasun Shanaka will have to deny the former from getting a stronghold. The right-hander has hammered over 500 T20 runs this year, striking at over 140. His form could give him an upper hand in the coveted challenge.
Najibullah Zadran vs Wanindu Hasaranga
Najibullah Zadran is a fearless batter. His 17-ball 43* against Bangladesh and year-round exhibitions in T20s confirm the same. He likes taking on the spinners from the word go, and averages 41.07 while striking at 144.47. SL's Wanindu Hasaranga is known to put a lid on the rival's scoring. And, he is enjoying a red-hot form that could trouble the Afghan hard-hitter in middle-overs.
Pitch report, timing, and TV listing
The Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah will host this affair. Chasing sides have won 16 of 26 T20Is played here. The wicket has aided both batters and bowlers. Anything around 145-155 could be a competitive score, given SL and Afghanistan's bowling attack on offer. The match will be telecast live on Star Sports Network (7:30 PM) and live-streamed on the Hotstar app (paid subscription).