The daily tournament preview charges down the wicket with Cricket World Cup tips as Afghanistan and Sri Lanka both look to get off the mark.
19:30 (AEST), Tue 4th Jun @ Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
History: Played 3: Sri Lanka 2 V Afghanistan 1
Last meeting: September 17, 2018: Afghanistan d Sri Lanka by 91 runs at Sehikh Zayed Stadium
Final Thoughts: First-up losers Afghanistan and Sri Lanka get the opportunity to open their 2019 Cricket World Cup account in Cardiff.
Struggling Sri Lanka copped a 10-wicket caning from New Zealand on Saturday. Dimuth Karunaratne (52*) was the only top-order batsman to shown any resistance. The captain carried his bat as his team were skittled for just 136. No.8 Thisara Perera – one of only three Sri Lankans to reach double figures – saved the side from complete annihilation with a quick-fire 27 from 23 balls.
New Zealand needed just 16.1 overs to reach the modest target without losing a wicket. Sri Lanka’s bowlers went for at least seven runs an over. Veteran spearhead Lasith Malinga was carted for 0/46 off five overs.
Afghanistan showed much more promise in a seven-wicket loss to Australia. After losing their openers in the first eight balls of the match, the underdogs scrapped their way to 207 all out in the 39th over.
Rahmat Shah (43 off 60), skipper Gulbadin Naib (31 off 33), Najibullah Zadran (51 off 49) and Rashid Khan (27 off 11) all provided encouraging signs with the bat. Australia reached the target with 15 overs to spare. Hamid Hassan (0/15 from six overs) was the pick of Afghanistan’s bowlers.
Sri Lanka defeated Afghanistan by four wickets at the 2015 Cricket World Cup. But Afghanistan claimed a historic victory at the Asia Cup last September, belting Sri Lanka by 91 runs.
The toss will be crucial with early movement likely. But with form a better gauge than reputation, lean towards plucky Afghanistan.