Sri Lanka would look to get off to a head start in the tournament © AFP (File Photo)
Sri Lanka would look to get off to a head start in the tournament © AFP (File Photo)

South Asian giants and defending ICC World T20 champions, Sri Lanka start off their Asia Cup T20 2016 campaign against Asian minnows United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the second Twenty20 International (T20I) game of the tournament at the Shere-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka on Wednesday. Sri Lanka, who are one of the powerhouses of the game, would look to get off to a head start in the tournament. However, UAE, who came out on top in the qualifying round of the tournament, would not back out easily and could well turn out to be a tough opponent as well, despite being labelled the tag of minnows. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sri Lanka vs UAE, Asia Cup T20 2016, 2nd T20I at Dhaka

Sri Lanka, despite being the defending World T20 champions, suffered a 1-2 loss against former World T20 champions India in the just concluded three-match T20I series in India, thus losing their No. 1 T20I spot, with India rising to the top. They would aim for a turnaround and get their position back before they get set to defend their title in the upcoming World T20 mega event, set to be held in Bangladesh as well from March. And in order to do so, they need to get set, their vehicle straightaway towards the road to victory, starting off with the likes of UAE.

UAE, on the other hand, who have had a decent season so far, would aim to start off this fresh year with a bang, causing the much deserved upset in the form of beating Sri Lanka in the opening game of the tournament, and putting the Lions on the back foot, while setting a message straightaway to the other opponents and remind them they are not a team to just do away with and that their qualification in the main round of the tournament was just no fluke.

Considering Sri Lanka’s team composition for the game against UAE, they are likely to have a balanced side, with fast-bowler Lasith Maling leading the side. The batting line-up having the likes of Shehan Jayasuriya, Chamara Kapugedera, Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella, along with the composition of few big all-rounders in the form of vice-captain Angelo Mathews, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Dasun Shanaka and Milinda Siriwardana. Thus, with a team of quality all-rounders, UAE are definitely going to have a tough time with the ball. And that’s not all, considering the bowling line-up in the form of Dushmantha Chameera, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara and Jeffrey Vandersay won’t back out from giving the UAE batsman from having a fruitful time in the middle of the crease.

Nevertheless, UAE too have their own ammunition, as considering their batting line-up, led by the skipper Amjad Javed, along with Fahad Tariq, Mohammad Naveed, Mohammad Shahzad, Muhammad Kaleem, Muhammad Usman, Swapnil Patil, Saqlain Haider and many more can fire against any opponent on any track in no time. Thus, with a promising batting line-up, Sri Lanka won’t just have a cakewalk in the game. And considering the bowling attack in the form of Qadeer Ahmed, Rohan Mustafa, Shaiman Anwar, Usman Mushtaq, Zaheer Maqsood, along with few all-rounders can give the Sri Lankan batsmen something to think about while batting.

With the match being held at Mirpur, a capacity crowd of over 25,000 is definitely not expected. However, what both the teams would have to worry about is the track, that is mostly known to suit both batsmen and the bowlers. Therefore, along with a balanced side, a definite good strategy is a must for both the teams as a thrilling encounter is certainly on the cards.

Squads:

Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga (c), Angelo Mathews (vc), Dushmantha Chameera, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Rangana Herath, Shehan Jayasuriya, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Dasun Shanaka, Milinda Siriwardana, Jeffrey Vandersay.

UAE: Amjad Javed (c), Ahmed Raza, Fahad Tariq, Farhan Ahmed, Mohammad Naveed, Mohammad Shahzad, Muhammad Kaleem, Muhammad Usman, Swapnil Patil (wk), Qadeer Ahmed, Rohan Mustafa, Saqlain Haider, Shaiman Anwar, Usman Mushtaq, Zaheer Maqsood.

TIME: 19:30 local | 13:30 GMT | 19:00 IST

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer and is also a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) maniac. He can be followed on Twitter @Ayush24x7)