GameDay Squad Cricket Match Preview: Afghanistan come up against Sri Lanka in the 30th match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in Pune on the 30th of October.
Afghanistan played Pakistan in their fifth match of the CWC, and Afghanistan won by 8 wickets. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. Afghanistan struggled early with the ball and didn’t take the first Pakistan wicket till the 11th over with the score at 56. Afghanistan was able to take regular wickets throughout the Pakistan innings and restricted them to 282/7 at the end of the 50 overs. Afghanistan was off to a great start with the bat and put on 130 for the first wicket. Zadran and Shah put on 60 runs for the second wicket as they took the score through to 190 in the 34th over before Zadran was dismissed. Shahidi joined Shah out in the middle and the two of them guided Afghanistan through to the Pakistan target of 283 runs with one over to spare.
The top performers in GDS for Afghanistan were.
Ibrahim Zadran – 105 points
Rahmat Shah – 94 points
Noor Ahmad – 86 points
Rahmanullah Gurbaz – 84 points
Mohammad Nabi – 73 points
Sri Lanka played England in their fifth match of the CWC, and Sri Lanka won by 8 wickets. England won the toss and elected to bat first. England were off to a fast start and made it through 45 without loss in the 7th over before Malan was dismissed. That’s where everything started to go right for the Sri Lankan bowlers. After the Malan dismissal, the Sri Lankan bowlers soon had a steady stream of English batsmen heading back to the pavilion. Stokes was the only batsmen that showed some resistance against the Sri Lanakan bowlers on the way to making 43 runs. Sri Lanka ended up bowling England out for 156 in the 34th over. Sri Lanka were off to a wobbly start and found themselves 23/2 in the 6th over. Nissanka and Samarawickrama were outstanding with the bat, they both finished not out as they guided Sri Lanka through to the 157-run target in the 26th over.
The top performers in GDS for Sri Lanka were.
Pathum Nissanka – 96 points
Sadeera Samarawickrama – 90 points
Lahiru Kumara – 89 points
Maheesh Theekshana – 68 points
Kasun Rajitha – 64 points
Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium & Pitch Information
The pitch in Pune is sometimes regarded as a batter’s paradise. Fast bowlers may see some seam and swing movement to begin with. However, they will need to bowl a good line and length if they are to keep the batsmen in check. Bangladesh and India played here in the 17th match of the CWC. Bangladesh batted first and made 256 but at times they looked like they would score 300+. India chased the Bangladesh target down in the 42nd over. We only saw eleven wickets fall in this match, six to seam and five to spin.
Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka predicted XIs
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqi
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera/Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chameera and Dilshan Madushanka
Who to play in your GDS starting XI
The three batters that I am likely going to start will be Ibrahim Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi and Pathum Nissanka. Over the CWC these batters average the following points in GDS.
Ibrahim Zadran – 46 points
Hashmatullah Shahidi – 39 points
Pathum Nissanka – 62 points
In GDS there are five players combined from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka that have the batter position designation. Three of these five players are predicted to play, two from Afghanistan and one from Sri Lanka. This is the easiest batter selection I’ve been faced with in the CWC as all the predicted to play batters need to start in your GDS squad. If Dimuth Karunaratne is a late inclusion to the Sri Lanka team, I may bring him in for Shahidi. It really depends on which team bats first.
The four all-rounders that I am likely going to start will be Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Charith Asalanka and Rahmat Shah. Over the CWC these all-rounders average the following points in GDS.
Azmatullah Omarzai – 58 points
Mohammad Nabi – 55 points
Charith Asalanka – 38 points
Rahmat Shah – 38 points
In GDS there are eight players combined from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka that have the all-rounder position designation. Five of these eight players are predicted to play, three from Afghanistan and two from Sri Lanka. Omarzai and Nabi are the first two all-rounders picked for me. Not only because they have a better average in GDS but also because I think they are likely to bowl most of their allocated overs. It’s a coin flip for me on the remaining two all-rounder positions that need to be filled. I’m leaning the way of Asalanka and Shah, even though they are not likely to bowl. Asalanka had been coming in at five in the Sri Lankan batting order and Shah has been coming in at three for Afghanistan. The last all-arounder available for selection is de Silva. He has been coming in at six in the Sri Lankan batting order and his highest score with the bat is 30. He has bowled in every match but has only bowled 16 overs across Sri Lanka’s five matches. The GDS points he has accumulated through bowling come to an average of eight points a game. Asalanka and Shah have shown more form with the bat this CWC and I believe they offer a higher ceiling than de Silva.
If you don’t have the suggested four players in your squad, I have ranked the remaining all-rounders for Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in the following order. Dhananjaya de Silva.
The three bowlers that I am likely going to start will be Rashid Khan, Kasun Rajitha and Dilshan Madushanka. Over the CWC these bowlers average the following points in GDS.
Rashid Khan – 70 points
Kasun Rajitha – 95 points
Dilshan Madushanka – 81 points
In GDS there are eleven players combined from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka that have the bowler position designation. Seven of these eleven players are predicted to play, four from Afghanistan and three from Sri Lanka. To be honest, it really comes down to who bats first when making my bowler selections. I’m selecting the above three bowlers based on their performances in the CWC so far. They are easily the best three bowlers in this match with Mujeeb coming in fourth, averaging 56 points per match. However, Mujeeb could be a great selection if you are after a POD. At the is ground, we saw Mehidy Hasan Miraz be the best of the Bangladesh bowlers against India as he was able to get some assistance form the pitch in the second innings. I might even change my mind and go with him over one of the Sri Lankan seamers if Afghanistan bat first.
If you don’t have the suggested three players in your squad, I have ranked the remaining bowlers for Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in the following order. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Maheesh Theekshana, Naveen-ul-Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqi.
The wicket keeper that I am likely going to start will be Sadeera Samarawickrama. Over the CWC these wicket keepers average the following points in GDS.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz – 57 points
Ikram Alikhil – 37 points
Kusal Perera – 28 points
Kusal Mendis – 76 points
Sadeera Samarawickrama – 78 points
This has been the hardest position in this match to select a starter for. All five keepers have the potential to score big at this ground but I’m leaning Samarawickrama. There is honestly nothing separating Samarawickrama and Mendis over the CWC. Samarawickrama has scored a total of 388 points and Mendis 380 in GDS. I have ranked Samarawickrama just ahead because he has been in better form with the bat over the last three matches. He’s scored 164 runs compared to Mendis scoring 31 over these matches. I believe the wicket keeper position offers the highest variance in this match as a couple of these keepers offer great POD appeal.
If you don’t have the suggested wicket keeper in your squad, I have ranked the remaining wicket keepers for Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in the following order. Kusal Mendis, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ikram Alikhil and Kusal Perera.