About the Match
Afghanistan pulled off an emphatic victory against Bangladesh to earn 4 points and open their account here; they will now go up against Sri Lanka, who have 8 points in the bag, on 3rd March at Dhaka. The young Afghani team displayed sheer determination to do well and were rewarded with a win by 32 runs against the hosts yesterday, causing a major upset in the tournament. Sri Lanka on the other hand has defeated both Pakistan and India to occupy the top position on the table and will look to continue on its winning momentum; this contest will provide the perfect opportunity for Afghanistan to test their skills against the Lankan might.
While the top order batsmen failed to deliver after being put to bat first by the hosts, Stanikzai and Shenwari stuck their ground and posted 164-run partnership for the 6th wicket to set up a competitive target of 255 runs for the opponents. The duo exhibited their talent and skilfully rotated strike to frustrate the Bangladeshi spinners, who had been successful in mounting pressure on the other batsmen. While Stanikzai scored 90 runs off 103 balls, Shenwari’s 81 off 69 deliveries gave a huge impetus. Defending their total, Afghani bowlers showed great focus and caused panic in the opposition; captain Nabi took 3-44 whereas Hamid Hassan and Shapoor Zadran claimed 2 wickets each to get Bangladesh all-out for 222 in 48 overs. This enthralling win has given a major psychological advantage to the team, who will now be eager to further their aspirations and continue with their all-round performance against top teams like Sri Lanka.
Senanayake and Mendis are in tremendous form as was witnessed in their performance against India; running through the Indian batting line-up with ease, the duo claimed 7 wickets between them and kept the bowling tight to suffocate the opposition and restrict them to 264 runs. The sturdy innings by Sangakkara, who posted 103 runs off 84 deliveries, built the foundation for a win and giving a good start to the chase, Perera and Thirimanne posted an 80-run opening stand. Though the middle order collapsed, Sangakkara stood strong and ensured his team could pull through, winning the match by 2 wickets. While the bowling was exceptional, the middle order batsmen need to improve their performance and give good support. Afghanistan may not be a threat to them, but the players will need to be cautious in executing their strategy against the opponents, who have already caused an upset here.
Afghanistan will be proud of their achievements so far and with their first win of the series, their morale will be highly boosted ahead of the encounter against Sri Lanka; however, the Lankans have displayed their strength time and again in this format of the game and go in to the contest as favourites. While it will surely see the bowlers from both sides trying to dominate against each other, Sri Lanka has all the expertise to pull off an easy win here.
Sri Lanka, 1.10 @ Bet365