Cricket World Cup 2019: Players to watch as Afghanistan look to increase pressure on Sri Lanka

We break down the group match between a fast improving Afghanistan side and the struggling Sri Lankans at Cardiff

What is it?

2019 World Cup group stage match

Who is playing?

Afghanistan v Sri Lanka

When is it?

Today, 1.30pm (UAE time) start

Where is it being played?

Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff

How to watch in UAE?

Tune in to OSN Sports Cricket HD or create an online account with Wavo for US$54 (a little less than Dh200). The account will provide customers access to two channels, OSN Cric Xtra 1 and OSN Cric Xtra 2.

What’s their head-to-head like?

Matches: 3

Afghanistan won: 1

Sri Lanka won: 2

Form guide (past five games):

Afghanistan: LWLWL

Sri Lanka: LWLLL

What they said:

Gulbadin Naib, Afghanistan captain, about the weather: "We just see what's the weather. I think maybe the weather will be the same. So if we can reduce the overs it will be much better for us."

Lasith Malinga, Sri Lanka paceman, on why bowling will be key: “Bowlers have a big role to play. We never know what's going on, who is bowling first or second. But still, bowlers can change the game. I still believe that. Then I feel players need to get confidence, but we can improve our skills at the moment.”

Likely XIs:

Afghanistan: Mohammed Shahzad (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammed Nabi, Gulbadin Naib (c), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Hamid Hassan, Dawlat Zadran.

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera (wk), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga.

Summary:

Weather will likely be a factor in the game as rain is expected, which should benefit Afghanistan. The fewer the overs, the greater the chances of the underdogs to win any given game, which explains why Test matches - or for that matter five-set tennis matches - are considered the pinnacle.

Both Afghanistan and Sri Lanka have lost their opening matches which means they will both be under pressure to win today. Afghanistan will also be encouraged by the fact the last time these two teams met, they won - at the Asia Cup in the UAE.

Updated: June 4, 2019 09:48 AM

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