Cardiff (Wales): Sri Lanka, who were comprehensively beaten by New Zealand in their opening game, will look to come out with a much-improved performance when they take on dark horses Afghanistan in the ongoing World Cup at the Cardiff Wales Stadium here on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka did not have the ideal start to their World Cup campaign as they lost by 10 wickets to the Black Caps on June 1. None of their batsmen -- apart from skipper Dimuth Karunaratne who remained unbeaten at 52 -- could stand against the hostile bowling from the Kiwi pacers and were bundled out for 136. The bowlers also failed to come up with an inspiring performance and proved ineffective as New Zealand chased down the target inside 16 overs.
Karunaratne's men need to pull up their socks and improve in all the three departments if they want to beat Afghanistan, who have a well-rounded bowling attack.
Afghanistan, despite being comprehensively beaten by Australia in their opening game, will back themselves to bounce back against a demoralised Lankan team. However, in order to do that, their openers need to score runs and make sure they set a platform for the lower order, which performed reasonably well against the likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in Bristol.
In Rashid Khan, they not only have a world-class spinner but also a decent batsman who can score big on his day. And they would also be gaining confidence with the performance of fast bowler Hamid Hasan, who produced a fast, disciplined opening spell against the mighty Aussies.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Mendis (wk), Kusal Perera (wk), Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay
Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (c), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb ur Rahman