As far as head-to-head is concerned, both the sides are facing off for the eighth time in the format with Sri Lanka winning four matches in the past. Afghanistan won two of the encounters with the latest coming last November Kandy.
World No. 8 Afghanistan have already qualified for the World Cup 2023 by virtue of ICC ranking as the top eight teams got direct entry. World No. 9 Sri Lanka will play the World Cup qualifiers in June in Zimbabwe.
Injury update Rashid Khan is unavailable for the first two games after sustaining back injury during the IPL 2023.
SL vs AFG key players
SL (Wicketkeepers: Kusal Mendis) Kusal Mendis has been in hot form this season with two big Test centuries in the Test series against Ireland in April.
(Batter: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dasun Shanaka, Charith Asalanka, Angelo Matthews) Pathum Nissanka has scored two half-centuries in his last three ODI innings but since then has struggled in the T20 series. Dimuth Karunaratne comes into the game playing big knocks in home and away Tests.
Charith Asalanka scored a T20 half-century in New Zealand earlier but the middle-order batter’s ODI outing has been quiet this year. Skipper Dasun Shanaka returns after a quiet IPL stint individually but the lower middle-order batter did score a century against India early in the year. Angelo Matthews scored a Test ton recently but has struggled in the limited format.
(All-rounders: Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva) Wanindu Hasaranga returns after an IPL stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore with nine wickets in eight games. The spinner, however, went wicketless in the last two ODI series this year.
Pace bowling all-rounder Chamika took a four-for against New Zealand earlier this year and went without a wicket in the subsequent games. Spin all-rounder de Silva played just one ODI this year with 13 runs with the bat and no bowling. He made no impact during the Ireland Test series as well.
(Bowlers: Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara) Pacer Kasun Rajitha took three wickets in his last two games while pacer Matheesha Pathirana is a star attraction after a stunning debut season in IPL. Lahiru Kumara performed well on the New Zealand tour with seven wickets in three white-ball games.
AFG (Wicketkeeper: Rahmanullah Gurbaz) Rahmanullah and his pinch-hitting abilities always entertain the crowd but his inconsistency is a concern.
(Batters: Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran) Both Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah scored runs in domestic cricket off late while the latter also had a good tour of Sri Lanka last year.
Skipper Hasmatullah last played for Afghanistan in the same series as well and was largely disappointing but has some form to show from the domestic season. Najibullah Zadran is tasked with the role of a finisher and did the job well in the T20Is against Pakistan.
(All-rounders: Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai) Mohammad Nabi remains a key lower middle-order batter amid the hit-or-miss reputation of the Afghan top order while Azmatullah Omarzai had decent outings in the domestic season.
(Bowler: Fazalhaq Farooqi, Noor Ahmad) Fazalhaq Farooqi had a quiet IPL stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad but did well in the T20 series against Pakistan at home before it. Noor Ahmad will be in focus in the absence of Rashid Khan as the left-arm wrist spinner picked 18 wickets in the IPL.
SL vs AFG predicted playing 11
SL predicted playing 11 Pathum Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara
AFG predicted playing 11 Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rashid Khan, Mujib ur Rahman, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Najibullah Zadran, Noor Ahmed, Azmatullah Omarzai
SL vs AFG pitch report
The Hambantota surface provides even contest for the bat with average scores is expected above 260 on the surface. Spinners will have an important role to play in the middle overs while bowling first has often been the call after the toss.
SL vs AFG Dream11 prediction
SL vs AFG dream11 predicted lineup 1
SL vs AFG dream11 predicted lineup 2
Captain: Matheesha Pathirana
Vice-captain: Dimuth Karunaratne
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