After losing their first match to NewZeleand by a huge margin Sri Lanka will take on Afghanistan in their second pool match on 22nd February 2015 at Dunedin. The match will start at 3.30 AM IST. Sri Lanka lost their first match by 98 runs while Afghanistan lost to Bangladesh by 105 runs. Both teams head in to this match with a loss in their respective matches, but Sri Lanka are much superior side than Afghanistan.
Sri Lanka have a very good batting line up. Dilshan and Thirmane can provide good start to the team so that the likes of Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Chandimal, Mathews . They can think of making way for Thisara Perera in the squad so that they can benefit from Parera’s big hitting ability in final overs. On the other hand, bowling lacks fire power. Malinga, Kulasekara looked out of sort and can regain their form against Afghanistan and it will help Lanka go a long way in winning this match.
Afghanistan who is playing their first world cup impressed with their bowling. They have good bowlers like Shapoor Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Dawlat Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf. The batting in the previous match was bad as they lost wickets at the start. They need their batters and bowlers to perform as a unit if they have challenge the Sri Lankan team.
Previous World Cup encounters
It is their first encounter in World Cup
Sri Lanka, looking at the condition in Dunedin, could make one change as Jeevan Mendis may sit out this game as captain could favour Thisara Parera’s inclusion. While, on the other hand, Afghanistan may look to bring Dawalat Zadran, who missed out Bangladesh due to niggle, in place of another fast bowler Aftab Alam.
Key Players to watch out for
Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara
This veteran player has been in exceptional form in One day Internationals. In the first match against NewZeleand he looked in excellent form scoring 39 runs during which he played every shot from the centre of the bat. With Sri Lanka looking to open their account in the points table Kumar Sangakara would be looking to continue his brilliant form with bat.
Afghanistan: Shapoor Zadran
Shapoor Zadran bowled brilliantly against Bangladesh in the previous match. He bowled 7 overs and gave only 20 runs picking 2 wickets. He bowled consistent line and lengths. He did not allow the Bangladesh batsmen to score freely. The onus will be on him to pick up wickets and stop the flow of runs.
Possible Playing XI
Afghanistan XI: Javed Ahmedi, Afzar Zazai, Nowrooz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Samiullah Shenwari, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf, Shapoor Zadran, Hamid Hasan, Dawalat Zadran.
Sri Lanka XI: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Thisara Perera, Lasith MAlinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana HErath