Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka: Semi-finalists in the 2003 World Cup, runners-up in the 2007 & 2011 edition, Quarters in the previous edition. Sri Lanka have been the team to have always done their basics right. In the twelfth edition, however, the 1996 World Champions find themselves in a spot of bother. Since the likes of Kumara Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan & Mahela Jayawardene called it a day, Sri Lanka’s form has rather been murky.
To put into perspective how bad Lanka’s form has been since the last World Cup, here’s an autopsy of the number of wins registered by the team since their talisman Sangakkara retired. The Lankans have won only 24 games off the last 86 games. For a team that’s always thrived on competing against the very best, the demonstration of these numbers is a morale breaker. Should they be given the benefit of doubt? Is a 4-year period too little to assemble a robust 15? As things stand, it is.
Dimuth Karunaratne who’s played a total of 19 ODIs, barely any in the last two years has been handed the responsibility to lead a docile side. They take on a flourishing Afghani unit who put up a decent effort against the Aussies & are only growing heavy-duty. Oddly, Afghanistan walk into this game as the favourites. The prediction metres might meander to either corner during the course of the game, but Gulbadin Naib & his mates will be eyeing to get off the mark. Can Lanka avoid this upset? Upset! Is that a thing now? It is the battle of the equals & it promises to be a humdinger.
Fasten your seat belts as FanFight brings to you World Cup fantasy cricket. Ready to compete on the best fantasy sports platform & win cash daily? Join Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka on FanFight & start winning.
Where: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
When: 4th June 2019, Tuesday
Kick-Off Time: 3:00 PM IST
Afghanistan: Lost by 7 wickets to Australia
Sri Lanka: Lost to New Zealand by 10 wickets.
HEAD-TO-HEAD & PREDICTION
Afghanistan have played against Sri Lanka 3 times & have managed to beat them once. The two teams met in the 2018 Asia Cup, where the Afghans cruised to victory by 91-runs. The two teams had met at Dunedin in the 2015 World Cup where a Mahela Jayawardene masterclass won Sri Lanka the game. For this contest, the battle will be evenly fought. Well, almost. Our prediction – Afghanistan to win this match.
Nuwan Pradeep was surprisingly dropped for their game against New Zealand but the pacer is likely to be included in the 11. Isuru Udana is expected to be left out. That’s the only change as far as Sri Lanka is concerned. Should Angelo Matthews bat at number 4? Should Kusal Perera curb his natural instincts & bat more sensibly? We’ll take a glance.
Afghanistan will look to comprehend Aftab Alam for Hamid Hassan. Hamid complained about his sore back but Naib did mitigate the injury concern. Asghar Afghan’s place in the XI is still not certain. The former captain is still recovering from a calf strain.
Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib (c), Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan/Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera (wk), Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Matthews, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana/Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga
WHERE SHOULD ANGELO MATTHEWS BAT?
Let’s put an end to this debate. It’s very evident that Sri Lanka’s top order lacks temperament. The skill is right up there with the very best but they don’t seem to value their wickets. Against New Zealand, not one Lankan batsman tried to apply himself. Lanka were 53-4 when Angelo Matthews walked in. The likes of Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera & Kusal Mendis gifted their wickets to the opponents. Perera especially. The southpaw was striking them clean before mistiming one to Colin de Grandhomme. Why did the Lankan think tank leave it that late?
The best batsmen in the team ought to bat at number 3 or number 4. If an exception has to be made(in this case, Matthews’ considering he’s a finisher) he can be pushed to number 5. He’s won games for his country it in the past & has got the skillset to be the thorn in the opponents’ flesh. It’ll be an appalling call if Matthews doesn’t come in at number 4 or 5. How has Matthews done in various batting positions?
Clearly, Angelo has batted at number 5 the most number of times. The likes on Sangakkara & Jayawardene made his job easy at number 5. But he now has to spearhead the batting attack.
Kusal Perera at number 3 provides the much-needed aggression but the left-handed batter has to step up for them. Will there be a change in the batting line-up?
FANFIGHT FANTASY CRICKET TEAM FOR AFGHANISTAN vs SRI LANKA
Post-2015 World Cup, Rashid Khan has picked 130 wickets in 85 One-day Internationals. The most by any bowler. Rahmat Shah during the same period has scored 1945 runs at 38.90, including 4 ODI 100s.
Kusal Perera has scored 3 hundreds for Sri Lanka since the last World Cup. The most for them. The Lankans have scored only 14 hundreds amidst this interim, compared to India’s 51 & England’s 50. Virat Kohli & Rohit Sharma have scored 19 & 15 hundreds(more than the entire Lankan team) from 1st April 2015.
Malinga is Sri Lanka’s 3rd highest wicket-taker with 322 wickets. Malinga has the unique record of picking 4 wickets in 4 deliveries at the mega event. The only man to do so. Malinga is also the only bowler to pick up two World Cup hat-tricks.
FANFIGHT ON MOBILE DEVICES
FanFight is available on both Android & iOS. Download Fantasy Cricket App and watch your favourite cricketers win points for you.
iOS users can Download FanFight iOS App and start winning cash daily.
SUBSCRIBE TO GET THE LATEST UPDATES