A couple of days after sealing an historic win over Bangladesh, Afghanistan will look to take that confidence into their Asia Cup 2014 game against Sri Lanka in Mirpur on Monday.
[Read the report HERE]
The Lankans have been the best team in the Asia Cup so far, beating both Pakistan and India to put themselves in the driver's seat. A win against Afghanistan will ensure their place in the final, and Angelo Mathews and co. will do well not to be complacent against the resurgent Afghans, who were so impressive against Bangladesh on Saturday.
Looking stuck, batting first, Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari put on a stunning 164-run partnership to take Afghanistan's score to 254 for six, which Bangladesh, under some excellent bowling from the Associate side, failed to get past.
"It is a historical win for Afghanistan," Stanikzai told ESPNCricinfo after the game. "This is fourth time we played against a big nation. It is a huge achievement because I don't think any Associate member beat a Full Member in their fourth exposure.
"Every single victory counts big back home. It has a huge impact. Cricket will grow even more with this victory. It is a positive advocacy of cricket at home. We have achieved a lot in a short time. This will bring a lot of happiness and prosperity back home. Everyone will be celebrating back home."
If Afghanistan can go one better and upset former World champions Sri Lanka, then the celebrations back home will be turned up a few more notches.
But then, Sri Lanka have looked pretty good in this edition of the Asia Cup, getting through the line against both Pakistan and India. Having rested over the weekend, the Islanders will be raring to go.
Ajantha Mendis was brought into the match against India and did brilliantly, picking up four wickets, while the rest of the spinners tied the Indian batsmen down. The Mirpur pitch is a little more batsman-friendly, but does aid spin as well.
Sri Lanka will also want the likes of Mahela Jaywardene and Dinesh Chandimal to get a proper hit in the middle, as they eye a final place, while they are also likely to rest a couple of their players to give the rest of the squad a chance to impress.
But, Sri Lanka need to be wary of making too many changes; because as Bangladesh found out to their detriment, if they slip even a little, Afghanistan will be right there to take advantage.
Asia Cup 2014: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Live TV information (Match starts 2 pm local time, 1.30 pm IST, 8 am GMT, 3 am ET)
|India||Star Sports 1,Star Sports 3 and
Star Sports HD1
|Canada||CBN andATN Cricket Plus|
|United Kingdom||Star Life OK|
|Bangladesh||Channel 9 andStar Life OK|
|Sri Lanka||MTV Sports|
Asia Cup 2014: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Live Streaming information (Match starts 2 pm local time, 1.30 pm IST, 8 am GMT, 3 am ET)
Team news: Sri Lanka: With a possible final and then the World T20 in their sights, Sri Lanka might rest a few of their main men. Ashan Priyanjan, Suranga Lakmal and Dhammika Prasad might be given a chance on Monday, with Lasith Malinga a possible candidate to be given a rest.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi and co. will not want to change a winning side, unless injuries force their hand of course.
Expected lineups: Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Ashan Priyanjan, Thisara Perera, Sachitra Senanayake, Suranga Lakmal, Ajantha Mendis.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Karim Sadiq, Asghar Stanikzai, Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Nabi (capt), Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf, Hamza Hotak, Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran.