So, the stage is set for the 1st Match of the Asia Cup 2018 to be played between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The opener is set to be held at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. On one side, where Bangladesh have included their star Shakib Al Hasan in the squad despite his fitness issues, Sri Lanka on the other, have included Niroshan Dickwella over unfit Dinesh Chandimal who hasn’t recovered from a finger injury.
In the last 5 head to head ODI battles, Sri Lanka have won three and Bangladesh have won only once while one of the games ended with no result. Here’s the prediction for the 1st encounter:
Tamim Iqbal’s form – Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal is in the form of his life. The 29-year old has been the strength of his side from the last 10 years. The southpaw would be key for Bangladesh in this tournament because of his scintillating show in the recent past. He played some of the top innings against Windies and is in a good nick. Bangladesh have a good chance this time to end their 34-year drought of not winning the tournament.
Multiple bowling options – The Tigers have landed in Dubai with 4 all-rounders and 5 specialist bowlers including their skipper Mashrafe Mortaza. We have seen in the past their struggles with the ball and it looks like they don’t want to take any chances now.
Unfit Shakib – Shakib Al Hasan’s inclusion in this squad is clearly a bad decision by the BCB. The all-rounder himself mentioned that he is not fit enough to play, yet the board booked his ticket to Dubai. Now, it would be interesting to see whether he will play the first game or not.
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Return of Lasith Malinga – This is probably one of the most surprising calls from any of the cricket board so far. Lasith Malinga was going through a rough patch in the last couple of years and was even left out by Mumbai Indians in 2018 IPL. His international career was almost over before Lankan board selected him for the important Asia Cup. His revival of career totally depends upon his Asia Cup performance.
Mathews back to his original form – Sri Lankan veteran, who has been prone to injuries in the last couple of years, is set to lead the side in the upcoming Asia Cup. He had a decent outing against South Africa at home where he played couple of match-winning knocks. He might not bowl in the tournament due to his fitness issues but his batting has improved a lot in the recent past.
Chandimal’s exclusion – Dinesh Chandimal has still not recovered from his finger injury and therefore, won’t be a part of the tournament. SLC appointed Nirishan Dickwella as his replacement who didn’t have the best of the series against South Africa. His wicket-keeping skills can be one of the reasons for including him in the squad.
Cricwizz’s Prediction: Bangladesh are slightly ahead because of their successful tour to Windies. They have some batsmen who are in top form and can provide them victory.
Who will win the 1st match of Asia Cup 2018?
- Bangladesh (57%, 191 Votes)
- Sri Lanka (43%, 146 Votes)
Total Voters: 337