Afghanistan v Sri Lanka
Saturday 27 August, 15:00
TV: Live on Hotstar
Sri Lanka are well stocked for spin options but may be light on pace. In Dubai spin is not everything and a mixed attack is important. They have a decision to make about the No 7 spot. Does Dhanajaya de Silva play as an all-rounder or do they find room for left-arm pacer Dilshan Madushanka.
Wanindu Hasaranga was the top wicket-taker in the World T20 held in the UAE last year. Bhanuka Rajapaksa offers their best chance of destructive finishing power.
Possible XI: Gunathilaka, Nissanka, Asalanka, Kusal, Rajapaksa, Shanaka, Dhananjaya, Hasaranga, Karunaratne, Chameera, Theekshana
There is some confusion surrounding whether Afghanistan have included batter Usman Ghani in their squad or not. He is not listed with Cricinfo but less reputable news sites do have him included.
Considering he was their best batter in their surprise series defeat by Ireland it would be a mistake, not to mention grossly unfair, if he was not involved. Rashid Khan is the main man as ever.
Possible XI: Gurbaz, Hazaratullah, Ibrahim, Ghani, Najibullah, Nabi, Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Naveen, Mujeeb, Farooqi
In the World T20 12 of the 13 matches were won by the side batting second. The tournament was a farce because of it. The reason was a wet ball because of dew. It would be bonkers to ignore such a trend and we can state here and now that betting the chaser to one-point level stakes throughout this tournament is a recommendation.
As for runs, only three of those games saw first-innings scores of more than 160 so runs par lines are likely to be a short. We will be betting the chaser at the break if they're going after up to 190. The par line is here. here.
How to play
Sri Lanka are 1.68/13 with Afghanistan 2.6213/8. We don't recognise the gulf between these two even with the toss bias in play.
The Afghans rate a solid wager in the chase, therefore, and should be more than a match for a team which has won only seven of its last 22. The Sri Lankans will give it a thump and they play exciting, bold cricket. But few teams are value at such odds. Bet the match odds here.
Two to play for top Afghan bowler and bat. Naveen-ul-Haq should bowl at the death and is underrated at 4/1 with Sportsbook, particularly when 2/1 favourite Rashid Khan has only four wins in 18. Najibullah Zadran is a follow at 4s for most runs with six wins in 18.
For outright value, Ashen Bandara is listed at 100/1 for top Sri Lanka bat. He is a batsman, and a decent one at that, and not a bowler or all-rounder. Karim Janat is rated at 50/1 when he should be about 14s. We don't expect either to play but moneyback if non-runners. Bet the Sportsbook markets here.
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