Cricket One Day International Prediction
Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan - Match Preview
🏏 2 June 2023 - 10:00 GMT +0
With both Sri Lanka and Afghanistan keeping an eye on the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup for contrasting reasons, the three-match series between the two Asian neighbours could turn out to be an audition of sorts. The first of the matches will be played on Friday at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota, the host venue of the entire series.
The Lankan selectors – not often the brightest when it comes to sensible decisions – have laid their cards on the table with their team selection. Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne has been recalled for the first time in more than two years. This is probably an indication that they want the experienced opener to lead them in the qualifiers in Zimbabwe, where they hope to finish in the top two and make it to the World Cup in India.
Mahesh Theekshana may have had little time in parading the IPL title he won with Chennai Super Kings, but with Wanindu Hasaranga “undergoing rehabilitation for a foot injury”, he may well become their frontline spinner with his 12-ODI experience. The seam bowling unit looks fairly strong as Dushmantha Chameera returns to lead the likes of Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara and Matheesha Pathirana – another CSK title winner!
It could have been a grudge match for the losing IPL finalist Rashid Khan of Gujarat Titans, but the talismanic Afghan leg-spinner has been ruled out of the first two matches with a lower-back injury. The visitors will hope to keep the series alive by the time he comes for the third match, but with a one-off Test against Bangladesh within a week after this series, Rashid may not even feature here. That doesn’t take the sheen off their spin attack, which will have Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and possibly Noor Ahmad of the Titans still giving this match a distinct Chennai Super Kings vs Gujarat Titans outlook!
Having already qualified for the World Cup, unlike their hosts, Afghanistan may use this series to try a few players out which could see a game or two for Noor. That may well turn out to be a blessing for the 21-year-old uncapped pacer Abdul Rahman, although there’s a long list ahead of him led by the enigmatic left-armer Fazalhaq Farooqi.
⚡ Players to watch: Kusal Mendis loves playing at home, having scored a 100 on his last visit to this venue, whilst he has scored at least 41 in nine of his last 18 home ODIs. That form is probably crucial to his hopes of avoiding a third-straight duck in this format for only the second time in his career. Kusal has been dismissed in three of his five H2Hs by an Afghan spinner, which could put the visiting experienced tweaker Mohammad Nabi into the spotlight. The right-arm off-spinner has had good form in recent ODIs, too, with at least two wickets in five of his last six bowling innings.
📋 Stat attack: Nine of the last 13 completed ODIs at this venue have seen the chasing team win.
- There have been ten 300+ scores posted in ODIs at this venue, with all but one coming in the first innings.
- Kasun Rajitha has taken exactly three wickets in each of his last two matches against Afghanistan, incidentally his last two home ODIs.
- Afghanistan have won five of their last six away ODIs although the only defeat came against Sri Lanka.
- Ibrahim Zadran has scored 100s in two of his three ODIs against Sri Lanka, both times ending as Afghanistan’s top-scorer.
- Mohammad Nabi has dismissed Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews twice each in ODIs at respective averages of 11.50 and 7.50 (4/38 from 59 balls combined).
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