Two teams at the bottom of the points table in the World Cup 2019 campaign will play in match #7 in Cardiff, as Afghanistan take on Sri Lanka. Both sides are coming off losses, albeit contrasting. Another loss would be detrimental to the hopes of progression, which makes this game a must-win.
Afghanistan have lost to Australia, but have put up a courageous display. Sri Lanka were thrashed by New Zealand, on the other hand. There are a lot of concerns for both sides, and that adds to the importance of this game.
The loss to Australia showed that Afghanistan can be plucky at times. However, inability to bat out the full overs remains a huge concern. The conditions in Cardiff are going to favour pace bowlers. With that in mind, the Afghans could be forced to change their spin-heavy attack.
Afghanistan know that Sri Lanka are vulnerable at the moment. Like they did in the Asia Cup, the Afghans can defeat the Sri Lankans. For that to happen, however, they need the batsmen to play longer knocks than the attractive 30s and 40s.
Sri Lanka Preview
New captain Dimuth Karunaratne is realistic about Sri Lanka’s WC chances, but wants his side to play better. With batsmen unable to spend longer periods in the middle, Sri Lanka have looked clueless.
The worrying part of Sri Lanka is that they were decimated on this same ground by New Zealand. In addition, they have not won here in six prior ODIs. Indeed, Sri Lanka have won fewer ODIs than Sri Lanka since the last World Cup, even though the Afghans played 22 fewer ODIs.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Dimuth Karunaratne has scored an unbeaten 52 against New Zealand in his first match as captain. His solid technique makes him an ideal pick for your side.
Rahmat Shah provides solidity for Afghanistan at number three position. He has four hundreds and 14 fifties and is Afghanistan’s leading scorer since the start of 2015.
Rashid Khan is a super star for Afghanistan. His ability with the ball aside, he can stroke it well with the bat. A very good pick for your team.
Aftab Alam could get a game in place of Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Afghanistan: 1 Mohammad Shahzad (WK) 2 Hazratullah Zazai 3 Rahmat Shah 4 Hashmatullah Shahidi 5 Mohammad Nabi 6 Gulbadin Naib (C) 7 Najibullah Zadran 8 Rashid Khan 9 Dawlat Zadran 10 Aftab Alam 11 Hamid Hassan
Isuru Udana might make way for Nuwan Pradeep for Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka: 1 Dimuth Karunaratne (C) 2 Avishka Fernando 3 Kusal Perera (WK) 4 Kusal Mendis 5 Dhananjaya de Silva 6 Angelo Mathews 7 Jeevan Mendis 8 Thisara Perera 9 Suranga Lakmal 10 Nuwan Pradeep 11 Lasith Malinga
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