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ICC World Cup: Afghanistan to face Sri Lanka in Pune

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In ICC World Cup, Afghanistan will take on Sri Lanka in Pune. The match will start at 2 PM.

The clinical dismantling of Pakistan or England, which would you call bigger? The former happened in Chennai, on an easy-paced wicket as Afghanistan coasted to victory, going past Pakistan’s total of 282 with an over to spare and 8 wickets in hand.

Eight days before that, Afghanistan had pulled off the first upset of this World Cup, comfortably defending 284 against England in Delhi with spin playing a prominent role in their win. And then there was the comprehensive drubbing of England in Bengaluru, on a slow wicket, where Sri Lanka used the cutters and change of pace to good effect to bowl the Jos Buttler-led side out for 156 and took only 25.4 overs, with 8 wickets still remaining, to chase down the target and all but seal the defending champions’ early exit.

Sri Lanka are currently fifth, and Afghanistan seventh, with both having four points after two wins apiece from five matches. The top four have eight or more points at this stage but the gridlock is among the teams below them, and the two Asian teams facing off in Pune on Monday will be eager to get ahead in this battle of one-upmanship and in the process keep themselves in the hunt for a semifinal spot should one or two teams in the top four falter at some stage in their remaining games.

For Afghanistan, after zero victories in the 2019 edition, this has been a huge improvement and they will be hoping their surge continues. And there is also the matter of unfinished business. Just about a couple of months back, they nearly pulled off an incredible chase against Sri Lanka but fell short of qualifying for the Super four stage of the Asia Cup.

Not having a clear picture of the NRR permutations halted Afghanistan’s progression in the competition and caused a heartbreak for them despite putting on quite a show with the bat. They have come a long way from that with inspiring performances in this World Cup but so have Sri Lanka who will be keen to extend their run of wins, having started the tournament with a hat-trick of losses.

Squads:

Sri Lanka Squad: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis(w/c), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madushanka, Dushmantha Chameera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Chamika Karunaratne, Dunith Wellalage, Dushan Hemantha

Afghanistan Squad: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi(c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil(w), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Riaz Hassan, Abdul Rahman, Najibullah Zadran

by AIR

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