Sri Lanka choose to field in Super 4 opener against Afghanistan; Shinwari replaces Omarzai


Toss Sri Lanka opt to bowl vs Afghanistan

The Super 4 stage of the 2022 Asia Cup got underway with a coin toss in Sharjah that eventually proved redundant since its winners Sri Lanka chose to chase and Afghanistan wanted to bat first anyway.

Dasun Shanaka said Sri Lanka preferred to bowl since his side are better chasers while Mohammad Nabi said that he expects the pitch to slow down later and therefore wanted his batters to have the first crack.
Afghanistan made one forced change, with the unwell seam-bowling allrounder Azmatullah Omarzai missing out. Samiullah Shinwari – the middle-order batter who can also bowl handy legspin – replaces him. Sri Lanka enter the game unchanged.

Both sides have had different pathways into the Super 4, with Afghanistan romping in with two convincing victories but Sri Lanka are still buoyant after crossing the line in a must-win game against Bangladesh earlier in the week. The last time the two sides met, in the tournament opener, Sri Lanka were blown away for only 105 and suffered an eight-wicket loss.

The pitch report suggests that the deck is dry and without much grass, with expectations that the newer ball will skid through early on. It is also expected to have lesser bounce than Dubai. The winner of tonight’s game will be early leaders on the Super 4 points table, from where two teams will eventually qualify for the Asia Cup final on Sunday, September 11.

Sri Lanka: 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Mendis (wk), 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Danushka Gunathilaka, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Asitha Fernando, 11 Dilshan Madushanka.

Afghanistan: 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 3 Ibrahim Zadran, 4 Najibullah Zadran, 5 Mohammad Nabi (capt), 6 Karim Janat, 7 Samiullah Shinwari, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Naveen-ul-Haq, 10 Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, 11 Fazalhaq Farooqi.

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