Afghanistan and Sri Lanka square off on Tuesday, June 4th at Cardiff at the 2019 ICC World Cup.
This is a match between the two lowest ranked ODI teams in the tournament. Sri Lanka is ranked 9th while Afghanistan is 10th.
The cricket betting odds for this match aren’t out yet. Still, let’s take a look at how the two teams match-up and pick our winner:
Afghanistan (1-5 World Cup record)
Afghanistan is the lowest ranked ODI team participating in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup but they have the ingredients to create some upsets and maybe make it to the semi-finals, which would be like winning the World Cup for them. They are expected to be the betting underdogs in most of their games.
Squad: Gulbadin Naib (c), Asghar Afghan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, Samiullah Shinwari, Najibullah Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran, Dawlat Zadran and Hazratullah Zazai.
Odds from William Hill as of 5/29/19
Sri Lanka ( 35-35-2-1 World Cup Record)
Sri Lanka won the Cricket World Cup in 1996 and were finalists in 2007 and 2011. The five-time Asian Champion was also a co-winner in the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy. However, their performance has taken a dive in recent years as a result of what experts say is a mind-boggling selection process. They are #9 in the ODI rankings with only Afghanistan ranked lower at #10.
Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeffery Vandersay, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Jeevan Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana
Don’t let that pedigree fool you. Sri Lanka’s best years are long gone and this is a team that has been on a steady decline in recent years. Sri Lanka has won just two out of their last 16 completed ODIs and their fortunes don’t look like they are going to change at all in England. An off-field turmoil is brewing after Lasith Malinga was replaced by Dimuth Karunaratne as captain even if the latter has not played ODI since 2015. The team is lacking in experience after veterans like Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella weren’t picked in a mind-boggling selection process.
Lasith Malinga still has what it takes at T20 level but he is just one man in a thin bowling attack. The talismanic Angelo Mathews is no longer the captain but he can still provide leadership to the squad. Sri-Lanka also has Thisara Perera who can turn things around with one ball and a bat. If the bustling left-handed pacer and middle order batsman can find consistency in the tournament, expect Sri Lanka to be in the thick of the fight in every game. Isuru Udana has a career strike rate of 121 in ODI’s and 151 in T20 internationals, he is capable of destroying the bowling attack in the death overs.
Sri Lanka pulled off a test series win over South Africa under Karunratre’s captainship but they will need more of those miracles if they are to move near to the trophy. Their ODI record in England is shabby as Sri Lanka has won just four times in 16 matches.
Afghanistan barely made it to the World Cup as three months into the World Cup qualifier they were 0-3 and on the brink of elimination. They suffered consecutive losses to Scotland, Hong Kong, and Zimbabwe. With one group stage match against Nepal left, they needed to win big to enter the Super Six stage. They would rebound to win all of their succeeding games and capture the tournament.
Hamid Hassan has been recalled to play for the flag again despite being hounded by injuries and despite not playing international cricket since 2016. 34-year old spinning all-rounder Mohammed Nabi has been here since the start of Afghanistan’s journey. He is no longer the player he once was but he will be there to provide the much-needed leadership. Rashid Khan is the best white-ball bowler in the world and will lead one of the most potent spinning attacks in the tournament.
Sri Lanka’s been on the decline but given that Afghanistan doesn’t have enough experience at this level plus the fact that they will be playing in English conditions and they rely heavily on spin bowling, I think I will have to go with Sri Lanka here. Prediction: Sri Lanka