The MCA International Stadium in Pune will host the high-stakes ODI between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka on Monday, 30th October.
With an eye on the semi-finals, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are gearing up for their fifth ODI encounter in recent months. Their performances in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup have been impressive, with both teams registering significant victories. Afghanistan shocked Pakistan, while Sri Lanka secured back-to-back wins, including a victory over reigning champions England.
Sri Lanka has a commendable track record against Afghanistan, having won their last three encounters. However, Afghanistan’s consistent lineup and Sri Lanka’s injury woes, with pacer Lahiru Kumara being the latest casualty, could level the playing field.
With the semi-finals within reach, this match is a must-win for both teams. The victor will bolster their chances of advancing, while the defeated side will face an uphill battle to stay in contention.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman, Naveen ul Haq
Sri Lanka Squad:
Kusal Mendis (c), Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka, Angelo Mathews, Dushmantha Chameera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madushanka, Dushan Hemantha, Chamika Karunaratne
Players to Watch
Afghanistan – Naveen-ul-Haq
Naveen-ul-Haq, the dynamic pacer, has been instrumental in balancing Afghanistan’s bowling attack, which also boasts of spin wizards like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi, and Noor Ahmad. Naveen’s ability to take crucial wickets has been a game-changer in Afghanistan’s victories. His six wickets in the tournament so far place him alongside Rashid Khan as Afghanistan’s most lethal bowler.
Sri Lanka – Kusal Mendis
Since taking over the captaincy from the injured Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Mendis has been at the heart of Sri Lanka’s action. His leadership has steered Sri Lanka to consecutive victories, and his wicket-keeping skills have also been noteworthy. However, with only 31 runs in his last three innings, Mendis will be keen to regain his batting form that saw him amass 198 runs in Sri Lanka’s first two matches of the World Cup.