About the Match
It was a blow to Afghanistan’s hopes when they lost to Bangladesh last week but they will now try to make the most of the remaining campaign; they face Sri Lanka, which has lost its first encounter against New Zealand, on 22nd Feb at the University Stadium, Dunedin. Both teams desperately need to win the upcoming match; while Afghanistan’s main problem is their inexperience, Sri Lanka is coping with challenges like player form and ground conditions. But both teams have the talent and to make amends with a victory here; it needs to be seen which side gets the better of the other.
The bowlers failed to make an impression and conceded easy runs to the in-form Kiwi batsmen; chasing a target of 332 runs, the batting unit failed to reach the target in spite of good knocks by Lahiru Thirimmane, who scored 65 off 60, and Angelo Mathews’ 46 off 52. Sangakkara scored 39 off 38 but none of the others displayed the determination. They lost against New Zealand by 98 runs but they have the ability and experience to fight back against Afghanistan. Players like Sangakkara, Angelo Matthews, Mahela Jayawardane, Lahiru Thirimmane and Tilakaratne Dilshan are capable to get the runs; bowlers like Lasith Malinga, who was economical but failed to take wickets, need to rise up to the challenge. The bowling squad looks strong to torment Afghanistan with Nuwan Kulasekara, Angelo Matthews Suranga lakmal and Jeevan Mendis being in good form, taking wickets consistently. But the batsmen must ensure to come out all guns blazing if they want to be in the running and win more matches.
Afghanistan’s defeat against Bangladesh with a big margin 105 runs must surely have hurt their morale but their past performances have proved that they are strong fighters. The batsmen had to chase down a target of 268 but the whole team got bundled out for just 162 runs, after getting off to the worst possible start with the score at 3-3. Nawroz Mangal, who scored 27 runs, and Samiullah Shenwari who posted 42 stitched a partnership of 62 runs for the 4th wicket while Captain Mohammad Nabi tried to keep the tempo up by scoring 44 off 43. However, the others succumbed to pressure and it was all over soon. On the bowling front, the players came back strongly in the death overs, picking up 6 wickets in the last 6 overs to stem the run flow; Mirwais Ashraf, Aftab Alam, Shapoor Zadran and Hamid Hassan grabbed two wickets apiece. Shapoor was the best of the lot as he conceded just 20 runs in 7 overs and along with his mates in the bowling squad, he looks to be in good from for the upcoming match. They need to overcome their weaknesses and work as a tight unit to win the upcoming match if they want to survive here.
It’s a crucial match for both teams, who need a win here to move ahead; Sri Lanka will definitely work hard and try to win the upcoming match. On the other hand, although Afghanistan’s recent form has been better and with the pressure totally on Sri Lanka here, we feel that they will be able to get past Afghanistan easily.
Sri Lanka, 1.04 @ Bet365