SI Sports Talks
Was a Matter of Time
by Shazeen Ifamy
Five-ten years ago Afghanistan was seen as an associate cricketing nation but had emerged rapidly to become a cricketing nation that challenges the best teams as we saw in the recently concluded Asia Cup and T20 World Cup. Asides from emerging as a top cricketing nation they’ve also developed superstars such as Rashid Khan. All these factors together make Afghanistan a fierce team that is capable of defeating the world’s best! On the other hand, Sri Lanka is slowly but steadily coming out of the long and difficult rebuilding stage that started in 2015 and after mixing and matching players, captains, and even coaches, they’ve finally found a team that seems to work and have yield rewards by winning the Asia Cup. Overall, this series a few years ago would have been seen as David vs Goliath but today it is seen as Athens vs Sparta as a small but fierce country in terms of cricket take on an old dog of the sport. With that said this series promises to be an exciting one for sure hence let’s look at some key areas that might decide the series.
Both Sri Lanka and Afghanistan haven’t been good with their batting as they both rely on the top order heavily due to their fragile middle order. As a result of this, both teams will be looking at their middle order to score some runs whether setting or chasing a total as it could be the difference between winning and losing. Asides from the middle order, both teams will be looking at their respective finishers as well to provide them with muscle power to score quick runs and put the opposition under pressure. So, who’s middle order will fire?
The strength of both teams recently is their bowling especially the spinners as Sri Lanka has Wanindu Hasaranga and Afghanistan have Rashid Khan. However, both teams will know the threat of the superstar spinner each team has respectfully and hence would not be taking many risks against them. As a result, the other bowler from each team will have to step up and deliver with wickets and tight overs to restrict and limit the opposition. Which bowler will finish as the highest wicket taker?
Fielding and Injuries
Afghanistan has been better than Sri Lanka in terms of fielding in the recently concluded T20 World cup hence have a slight advantage over Sri Lanka and will be looking to make use of it. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, was poor with their fielding in the World Cup as they had plenty of errors on the field asides from that Sri Lanka also had plenty of injuries hence will be monitoring their player’s fitness throughout this series. Which team will be the better fielding team?
So, there you have it! A brief preview of the series. Sri Lanka and Afghanistan a pretty even in terms of batting and bowling but Afghanistan have an edge over Sri Lanka in terms of fielding. As a result, we can expect an interesting series especially with valuable ODI Super League points up for grabs. How will this series go? Who will win it? We’ll just have to wait and find out!
SI Sports Talks