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World Cup 2019, Match 7, Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka: Why Afghanistan will win the match

ANALYST
Preview
03 Jun 2019, 18:32 IST

Afghanistan had defeated Sri Lanka in the 2018 Asia Cup
Afghanistan had defeated Sri Lanka in the 2018 Asia Cup

Afghanistan's 2019 World Cup campaign got off to a bad start against the defending champions Australia. The Australians cruised to an easy seven-wicket victory on Saturday, but the Asian team would look to forget that match and focus on their upcoming encounter with the 1996 World Cup winners Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka had a worse start than Afghanistan as they were completely outplayed by New Zealand on Saturday. The Kiwis beat the Lankan Lions by 10 wickets in the third match of the tournament.

Both teams will be looking to win their first game of this World Cup when they take the field at Cardiff on Tuesday. The last time these two teams met in an ODI match was way back in mid-2018. Afghanistan battled Sri Lanka in the group stages of the Asia Cup and beat the island nation to knock them out of the competition.

Sri Lanka will be out there to avenge their Asia Cup defeat, but they could find it extremely difficult to defeat Afghanistan, who have an all-round squad which can match any top class team of the world on their day. They have a much complete squad than Sri Lanka on paper.

Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Hamid Hassan have the potential to trouble the inexperienced Sri Lankan batsmen. We saw how the Sri Lankans crumbled in front of the New Zealand bowling attack last weekend.

It will all rely on how well the Afghan bowlers bowl at Cardiff because batting is not their main strength. They do not have the batsmen who can post huge totals of 350-400 runs on the board on a consistent basis.

Thus, if Sri Lanka bat first, Afghanistan need to restrict them to around the 250-275-run mark so that the likes of Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib can take them through. In case Afghanistan bat first, they need to post at least 280-285 runs on the board to give their bowlers a total worth defending.

Looking a the recent form of Sri Lanka, it should not be that difficult for the Afghan brigade to win their first match of this World Cup. Thus, we can back the Blue Tigers to register their first ever World Cup victory versus Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

Also read - Most centuries in world cup

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