In their sixth match against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka lost the toss and lost 4 wickets for 139 runs to the bowling balls of the Afghan bowlers.
The Afghan bowlers kept the two Lankan openers under pressure from the start today. As a result, the Lankans could score only 18 runs in 5 overs.
In the next over, Fazal Haque Farooqui, who got a place in the team instead of Noor, hit the Lankan camp. Dimuth Karunaratne, who scored 15 off 21 balls, was trapped lbw. At first, if the umpire Fazal Haque Farooqi did not respond to the request, Afghanistan took a review. So that the Afghans succeed. Dimuth Karunaratne’s departure broke the opening pair of Lankans for 22 runs.
Dimuth Karunaratne and Kushal Mendis formed a partnership losing the first wicket for 22 runs. The Lankans scored 40 runs in the first power play based on this pair. The Lankans were able to cope with the initial shock by relying on this pair. But this pair was broken by the departure of Pathum Nisanka for the team’s 84 runs. 67 runs came from this pair.
Pathum Nisanka missed his half century today for just 4 runs. Pathum Nisanka, who scored 46 runs off 60 balls, was caught by Rahmanullah Gurbaz off Azmatullah Omarzai and returned to the dugout.
Kushal Mendis paired with Sadira Samaravikrama after Pathum Nisanka’s departure. Based on this pair, the Lankans took the team’s century in 21 overs.
Mujeeb ur Rahman struck when the Lankans were heading towards a big collection relying on this pair. Kushal Mendis, who scored 39 runs off 50 balls by Mujbar, handed over the catch to Najibullah Zadran and went back to Sajghar. The pair of 50 runs broke on his departure.
Sadira Samaravikrama also goes back to the path of Kushal Mendis. He passed away as Mujib’s second victim. Scored 36 runs off 40 balls before getting out. On his departure, the Lankans lost 4 wickets for 139 runs.
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, Fazal Haque Farooqui.
Sri Lanka XI: Pathum Nisanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kushal Mendis (wicketkeeper/captain), Sadira Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Mahesh Theksana, Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chamira, Dilshan Madushanka.