Afghanistan are facing Sri Lanka today in their sixth match to keep their semi-final hopes alive. Afghan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi has decided to field first against the Lankans after winning the toss.
The team that wins today’s match will go a little further on the way to the semis. But there will be opportunities for other teams as well. The Sri Lanka-Afghanistan match will start at 2:30 pm Bangladesh time in Pune.
Sri Lanka-Afghanistan have equal 4 points after five matches till now with two wins and three losses. Lankans are fifth in the table ahead of Afghans in run rate. Afghans are in seventh place.
Sri Lanka fell short of defeat in their first three matches against South Africa-Pakistan and Australia. Despite the hattrick loss, the Lankans did not give up. Sri Lanka returned to the fight after defeating the current champions England after the Netherlands.
However, the Lankan team management is worried about the injuries of the Lankan cricketers one after the other. First captain Dasun Shanaka, then Mathisha Pathirana and lastly Thai Lahiru Kumara got knocked out due to injury. Dusmantha Chamira has been selected by the team management instead.
Like Sri Lanka, Afghanistan also had a bad start to the World Cup mission. But not a hat-trick loss like the Lankans, the Afghans had to lose to India after Bangladesh in the first two matches. Afghanistan won the third match avoiding a hat-trick defeat. They beat England by 69 runs and created an accident. After losing to New Zealand, Afghanistan again produced a surprise in the last match. Afghans won by 8 wickets against Pakistan.
So far Sri Lanka-Afghanistan have met 11 times in ODIs. Of these, Sri Lanka won seven, Afghanistan won three and one match was abandoned. The Lankans have won the World Cup against the Afghans only twice. Last September Sri Lanka-Afghanistan faced each other in ODI. The Lankans won that Asia Cup match by 2 runs.
In this important match, both teams have made changes in the XI. Sri Lanka fielded with two changes. Chamira and Karunaratne got places in their team. Meanwhile, there is one change in the Afghanistan team. Fazal Haque came to the team instead of Noor.
Afghanistan XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq and Fazal Haque Farooqui.
Sri Lanka XI: Pathum Nisanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis (wicketkeeper/captain), Sadira Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Mahesh Theksana, Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chamira and Dilshan Madushanka.