Sri Lanka no certainties against an exuberant Afghanistan
Both teams are coming off significant losses (albeit against quality opposition) and are desperate to register a win to get their 2019 World Cup campaigns underway. Out of the two, it was Afghanistan who showed the most promise with some impressive stroke play with the bat against arguably one of the best bowling attacks in the tournament. Now given that Sri Lanka’s bowlers conceded 137/0 in just 16.1 overs against New Zealand, Afghanistan could be in with a chance.
Despite being the more established International outfit, Sri Lanka wouldn’t be overly-confident given their previous performance in their World Cup opener against the Black Caps where they were handed a 10 wicket defeat. Adding to their woes, the last time these two teams met was in last year’s Asia Cup where Afghanistan walked away with a comfortable victory. It appears while Afghanistan is slowly beginning to rise, Sri Lanka are going in the complete-opposite direction. Rahmat Shah and Najibullah Zadran were amongst the top run scorers for Afghanistan and looked relatively comfortable at the crease, in-particular Najibullah who took Adam Zampa to the cleaners in one over. One noticeable issue Afghanistan has to their approach is a tendency to force runs rather than build an innings. This is one area of the game that Sri Lanka is expected to expose, holding back the big shots seems to be almost-impossible for these Afghani batsmen!
Sri Lanka is no masterpiece either, and they certainly have their fair share of cracks that can be exploited. Dismantled for a rather-forgettable 136 runs, it’s worth mentioning that nine out of Sri Lanka’s ten wickets were taken by seamers. That could work in favour of Sri Lanka who struggled immensely against New Zealand’s fast bowlers, Afghanistan usually opt for three spinners which means an extended period in the innings of pace off the ball. Sri Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne’s slugging-fifty was the only positive to come out of their World Cup opener, ducks to Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews certainly didn’t help their cause. While Afghanistan leggy Rashid Khan looks to keep his opposition on their toes, Sri Lanka must show some sort of authority in this match if they are to have any sort of success in this year’s World Cup in England & Wales.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Afghanistan
- Mohammad Nabi
- Rahmat Shah
- Hashmatullah Shahidi
- Rashid Khan
Wildcard pick – Hamid Hassan
Top 4 fantasy picks – Sri Lanka
- Dimuth Karunaratne
- Lasith Malinga
- Kusal Perera
- Thisara Perera
Wildcard pick – Dhananjaya de Silva
Predicted Team XI’s
Afghanistan (possible) – 1. Mohammad Shahzad (wk) 2. Hazratullah Zazai 3. Rahmat Shah 4. Hashmatullah Shahidi 5. Mohammad Nabi 6. Gulbadin Naib © 7. Najibullah Zadran 8. Rashid Khan 9. Dawlat Zadran 10. Mujeeb Ur Rahman 11. Hamid Hassan.
Sri Lanka (possible) – 1. Lahiru Thirimanne 2. Dimuth Karunaratne © 3. Kusal Perera (wk) 4. Kusal Mendis 5. Angelo Mathews 6. Dhananjaya de Silva 7. Thisara Perera 8. Jeevan Mendis 9. Isuru Udana/Nuwan Pradeep 10. Suranga Lakmal 11. Lasith Malinga.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.