If you’re a regular on Cricbuzz, you’ll know the routine: Use the Have Your Say link on the commentary page from the desktop site, and make do with Twitter on your phones to post your opinions with the hashtag #CBHaveYourSay and we’ll pick the best of them for our commentary page. For now, it’s Rishi Roy, honoured to welcome you to the coverage of the inaugural game of the 2018 Asia Cup in the elite company of Raju Peethala, Varun Dixit, Sagar Chawla, Akshay Maanay and Sulthan. The pivotal toss is coming up in 15 minutes.
As for the weather, it’s sultry here in Dubai and the players will seriously need to keep their fluid levels in check. There’s certainly no chance of rain, but it is likely that there will be more fluid breaks. The reason? 41 degrees Celsius – yep, you read that right. Whether overhead conditions affects swing or not is irrelevant for now; the sun will certainly beat down upon the players and they’ll have to keep the intensity high in the deadly heat of the Gulf.
Now then, both sides have a few injury concerns: Sri Lanka have lost Gunathilaka and Chandimal already, whereas Bangladesh’s lynchpins, Shakib and Tamim Iqbal, are carrying a few niggles too. It’s practically impossible to predict the Playing XI today, what with all the injuries – not to mention the lackluster and sporadic form of the two sides. Bangladesh have maintained their standards with a reasonable record over the last couple of years, running teams uncomfortably close before missing out on key moments. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have been abysmal, recently conceding a series at home against South Africa and only managing to win the two dead rubbers in the end.
It’s Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to start off the tournament in the opener – their first encounter since the notorious Nidahas Trophy (pseudo)semi-final. All is forgotten though, and things seemed fairly normal, at least on the surface, in the press conference – meaning the focus will thankfully be on the cricket.
2:30PM local time, 4:00PM IST: Lo and behold, the Asia Cup is upon us once again, this time in the original 50-over avatar that we’ve been more familiar with over the years; one that has given us several moments of joy over the years – Kapil Dev’s hat-trick, the fantastic final of 2012, the rise of Ajantha Mendis back in the 2008 final, and Sachin Tendulkar’s historic 100th International hundred in 2012. This time, we’ve got more teams competing, including newcomers Afghanistan who have been phenomenal in this format to start off with, making this Asia Cup a mouth-watering event…