Afghanistan were pretty impressive in their qualifying games, dominating every single one of their opponents, including Test nation Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka have floundered since the retirements of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, unable to find any kind of rhythm or form. So, when these two teams meet in a Group 1 clash, the Associate side will be the one going into the game in buoyant mood.
The World T20 has had plenty of excitement already, with wickets, brilliant catches, outstanding bowling and ridiculous batting, led by Chris Gayle, already setting the tournament alight. But what we haven't had so far is a really close game. New Zealand ran away with the match against India, while Pakistan dominated Bangladesh with bat and ball. England could do little as Gaylestorm hit the Wankhede.
Considering Afghanistan are in good form and Sri Lanka are really short of confidence at the moment, this match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata could turn out to be a really close one.
As well as Afghanistan played in the qualifiers, facing Sri Lanka will be stepping up a level, even this Sri Lanka side who just cannot seem to buy a win.
"We have some game-changers, and we have not qualified for the Super 10s just to participate," Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. "We are ready to challenge some big teams.
"We came close against Sri Lanka in the 2015 World Cup but their experienced batsmen, particularly Mahela Jayawardene, played outstandingly to beat us. This time most of their players are new; this time we have a good chance to beat them."
If Afghanistan continue bowling the way they did in the qualifiers, Sri Lanka will need all their experience to get out of trouble. They do have that experience, though, even after the retirements of their two batting greats.
Tillakaratne Dilshan has been around for a long, long time, while Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne are experienced pros now. Angelo Mathews is regarded as one of the best all-rounders in the world, but the Sri Lanka skipper needs to show it on this big stage. The bowling department is also well stocked in the experience scale, with Lasith Malinga, if fit, Rangana Herath and Nuwan Kulasekara.
Mathews knows Sri Lanka will need to be at their best to beat Afghanistan in Kolkata Thursday.
"They are very tough," Mathews told reporters of facing Afghanistan. "The last two times that we played it was two close games. They have fought really hard against us and we had to fight to beat them.
"We can't really call Afghanistan minnows. They've beaten all the teams in their qualifying stages very easily. We don't take them easily, because they can upset any team on a given day. We have to play really good cricket to beat Afghanistan."
Where to Watch Live
The match between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan is set to begin at 7.30 p.m. IST (2 p.m. GMT, 9 a.m. ET). Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD1 and Star Sports HD3 will provide live TV coverage for viewers in India and the rest of South Asia. Viewers can also watch the WT20 match by online live streaming on Starsports online and Hotstar. Viewers i Afghanistan can also watch their match against Sri Lanka live on Lemar TV.
Willow TV and Willow TV Online are the places to be to watch the game live on TV and online in the US and Canada.
Sky Sports 2 will broadcast the match live in the UK , while the live stream option is on Watch Sky Sports.
Viewers in New Zealand can watch Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan live on Sky Sport and Sky Go NZ. Fox Sports will show the World T20 2016 match live in Australia, while the live streaming option is on Foxtel.
Audience in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa will be able to watch Sri Lanka play Afghanistan live on SuperSport 2, with the online live stream option SuperSport Live Video.