By: Chinmay Vaidya
Sri Lanka enters the 2018 Asia Cup with lots of uncertainty in its squad. There are still some "Golden Generation" veterans hanging around, but it'll the performance of the newcomers that determines how Sri Lanka will fare in the tournament.
Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga will provide leadership for the young players to lean on. Mathews will be a solid all-rounder, but Malinga will have to prove he still has something left in the tank after a one-year absence from ODI cricket. Thisara Perera and Upul Tharanga will provide additional veteran support.
Akila Dhanajaya is a promising all-rounder and his talent was on display in the South Africa tour. Although Sri Lanka ended up losing the ODI series, there was a successful pushback after a 3-0 deficit. Dhanajaya de Silva and Dasun Shanaka also add some punch on both sides of the ball, but it'll remain to be seen how much run they get in the tournament.
Outside of Malinga, Sri Lanka's bowling is questionable. Suranga Lakmal got hammered in South Africa and Kasun Rajitha is relatively inexperienced. Sri Lanka will have to rely on Mathews and Perera for a good amount of overs in every match.
Sri Lanka should make it out of Group B, but Afghanistan is certainly looking at its clash with Sri Lanka as a potential upset opportunity. Sri Lanka has more overall talent and should be able to advance, but its chances to win in the Final Four pool remain slim.
Full Squad: Angelo Mathews (C), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Dhanajaya de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Dilruwan Perera, Amila Aponso, Kasun Rajitha, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga.
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