Sri Lanka vs. Afghanistan
|Date & Time||Tuesday June 4, 2019, 5:30 AM (EDT)|
Afghanistan 2.00 / Sri Lanka 1.80
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Afghanistan and Sri Lanka will both be looking at this match as a great opportunity to pick up their first points at this year’s World Cup. Both sides lost their opening matches and will be looking to bounce back when they face each other in Wales.
Sri Lanka only managed 136 runs in their first game after being bowled out by New Zealand in just 29.2 overs. Afghanistan put up a bit more of a fight against Australia but their 207 runs from 38.2 overs was chased down comfortably by the Aussies.
Najibullah Zadran top scored for Afghanistan with a classy 51 runs from 66 balls but his efforts weren’t enough to help his side claim the victory against Australia. He will need some of his team mates to step up with the bat and chip in with some runs against Sri Lanka in Wales.
Afghanistan only managed to take three wickets in their opening match. A wicket each for Mujeeb, Gulbadin and Rashid did little to halt the Australian run chase. They will know the Sri Lankan batting line up will be a lot more fragile and will be confident of taking more wickets against a weaker opposition.
If Afghanistan’s bowling was poor, Sri Lankas efforts with the ball were dismal. Sri Lanka failed to take a single wicket in their opening match. The opening pair of Guptill and Munro were the only batsmen that New Zealand required to do the job.
Sri Lanka’s batsmen were also well below par in their first game. Dimuth Karunaratne played his part with 52 runs but Thisara Perera (27) and Kusal Perera (29) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures.
Afghanistan have some promising players in their side and will see Sri Lanka as a scalp that they are more than capable of claiming. Sri Lankan cricket has been in decline in recent years and they have looked a shadow of their former self.
Afghanistan on the other hand are a cricketing nation on the rise. This is only the second World Cup that they have competed in and they will be keen to kick start their campaign with a victory against Sri Lanka.
20-year-old spinner Rashid Kahn is vital to Afghanistan’s chances of claiming two points in Wales. He currently sits 3rdin the ODI bowling rankings and 1stin the T20 bowling rankings and should thrive on the British conditions this year.
Rain is forecast for Tuesday in Wales so we could see the first match of this year’s World Cup to have a reduced number of overs. I believe this will favor Afghanistan who have the better T20 players in their side.
Taking everything into consideration, I see Afghanistan beating Sri Lanka and claiming their first two points of the campaign. Sri Lanka looked extremely weak against Australia and I don’t see them improving here.