SRI LANKA’S Sahan Arachchige in action during a training session at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday.—AFP
SRI LANKA’S Sahan Arachchige in action during a training session at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday.—AFP

LAHORE: A struggling Afghanistan team face an in-form Sri Lankan side in a crucial Asia Cup Group ‘B’ match here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday.

The result of today’s day-night game will decide which two teams of the group qualify for the Super Four stage of the six-nation event, which is being hosted jointly by Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

While defending champions Sri Lanka won their opening match against Bangladesh by five wickets in Pallekele, Afghanistan lost their opener to the latter by 89 runs at the Gaddafi Stadium last Sunday.

Therefore, Afghanistan need a big-margin victory against Sri Lanka to advance on better run-rate.

The Hashmatullah Shahidi-led team have to win by a margin of at least 68 runs or to chase down a target in 35 overs or less. On the other hand, Sri Lanka just require a victory to confirm as group leaders to qualify for the next round along with Bangladesh.

While Sri Lanka held a practice session on Monday, Afghanistan preferred to take rest following their game on Sunday under intense heat in Lahore. Both the teams held no pre-match presser either.

Sri Lanka look favourites on a track that is very likely to be batting-friendly. In the last match played at the same venue, Bangladesh piled up a huge 334-5 to which Afghanistan responded with a respectable 245.

Afghanistan may rest Gulbadin Naib or Karim Janat in order to test another pacer while Sri Lanka are most likely to remain unchanged.

The toss will also play a vital role as batting first will be helpful in setting a big total.

Earlier, Afghanistan’s assistant coach Raees Ahmad Zai in his post-match talk following their game against Bangladesh admitted that Sri Lanka were a good side.

“Afghanistan face a must-win situation against Sri Lanka and the boys will do their best to achieve all the targets to qualify for the next stage,” Raees said.

He also acknowledged that Bangladesh had outclassed Afghanistan in all departments.

“We played a good number of dot balls, hopefully we will over­come this problem against Sri Lanka,” the coach said.

Squads:

AFGHANISTAN: Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Ibrahim Zadran, Ikram Alikhil, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Riaz Hassan, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Abdul Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Mohammad Saleem, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad.

SRI LANKA: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Dananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Mahesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Matheesha Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha, Dushan Hemantha, Binura Fernando, Pramod Madushan.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Unyielding onslaught
Updated 13 Jun, 2024

Unyielding onslaught

SEVEN soldiers paid the ultimate price in Lakki Marwat on Sunday when their vehicle was blown up in an IED attack,...
X diplomacy
Updated 12 Jun, 2024

X diplomacy

Both states can pursue adversarial policies, or come to the negotiating table and frankly discuss all outstanding issues, which can be tackled through dialogue.
Strange decisions
12 Jun, 2024

Strange decisions

THE ECP continues to wade deeper and deeper into controversy. Through its most recent decision, it had granted major...
Interest rate cut
Updated 11 Jun, 2024

Interest rate cut

The decision underscores SBP’s confidence that economic stability is gaining traction.
Rampant zealotry
11 Jun, 2024

Rampant zealotry

Decades of myopic policies pursued by the state have further aided the radicalisation of significant portions of the population.
Cricket breakdown
11 Jun, 2024

Cricket breakdown

THERE was a feeling that Pakistan had finally turned the corner in their T20 World Cup campaign. Sadly, it was only ...