Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, 1st ODI, Afghanistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2022

11 days ago Cricbuzz

Preview:

One World Cup campaign ends, in a rather underwhelming fashion, and the grind for the next begins almost immediately - that's life for the chasing pack in the ODI Super League that guarantees direct qualification to next year's showpiece event in India.

Interestingly, Afghanistan find themselves in one of the direct qualification spots - at seventh with 100 points, 12 ahead of eighth-placed West Indies. But they will need results in the next week to add more cushion to their chances as there seems to be uncertainty about their series against India and Pakistan that are still to be confirmed.

Sri Lanka are on a slightly more slippery slope. They find themselves two spots beneath West Indies, with 62 points. Results in the next three ODIs could have a big bearing on their fate for next year as their only other series is an away tour to New Zealand.

Thus begins a series between two sides that have very little ground to give up and far more to gain. The ever-impressive Afghanistan saw another captain step down following the T20 WC this year after citing differences with the selection panel. With less than 12 months left for the big event in India, Afghanistan should take heart from the fact that they now have a steady captain in this format in Hashmatullah Shahidi, who was appointed midway through June 2021. Aiming for better communication and seeking more consistency starts in Pallekele on Friday.

The home side have recently been wounded by off-field issues more than what they've done on the field. They still have the recent success of an Asia Cup victory to use as a springboard and build Dasun Shanaka's side up for the 50-over campaign. For them too, a reset and a fresh start beckons.

When: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, 1st ODI, November 25, 2022, 02:30 PM Local time

Where: Pallekele International Cricket Stadium

What to expect: A warm afternoon to start off with, as temperatures could hover closer to 30 degrees. The venue has sided with teams that chase in ODIs, with 19 wins out of 33 games.

Team News:

Sri Lanka

Only on the eve of the first ODI did SLC officially announce their 15-member squad with the quartet of Dhananjaya Lakshan, Kasun Rajitha, Ashen Bandara and Lahiru Kumara earning ODI recalls. Chamika Karunaratne, who was recently handed a one-year suspended ban for breach of several clauses of player agreement during the World Cup in Australia, has been omitted from the squad while Niroshan Dickwella, Nuwan Thushara, Ramesh Mendis, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lahiru Madushanka and Jeffrey Vandersay have also missed out.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who was part of the squad, has requested to be released in order to take a break from ODI cricket, the SLC confirmed.

Squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dunith Wellalage, Dananjaya Lakshan, Kasun Rajitha, Maheesh Theekshana, Pramod Madushan, Asitha Fernando, Ashen Bandara, Lahiru Kumara

Afghanistan

The impressive left-arm wrist spinner Noor Ahmad earned his maiden call-up for this series after impressing in various T20 leagues. He made his T20I debut in Zimbabwe earlier this year, and returned astonishing figures of 4 for 10 in 4 overs. Afghanistan have added youth as well as experience to their squad by picking Gulbadin Naib.

Squad: Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rahmat Shah, Shahidullah Kamal, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Zia-ur-Rehman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Yamin Ahmadzai, Noor Ahmad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fareed Ahmad
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