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CWC 2019 – Afghanistan v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points

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Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

Afghanistan v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points. AFG vs SL – 5 key talking points from their CWC 2019 match.

A battle between what’s likely to be the bottom two sides at this World Cup doesn’t mean it can’t be exciting. Unfortunately, it was a little underwhelming.

Sri Lanka, in the end, picked up what can be described as a scrappy win. A fast start, aided by Kusal Perera and total Afghan bowling ill-discipline, was halted by the kind of poor play that has hurt Sri Lanka over the last two-and-a-half years. Their bowlers then helped get them over the line, picking up the sort of win that can kick-start a campaign.

Here are five key talking points from a game full of mistakes.

Also read:

India v South Africa Preview

New Zealand v Bangladesh Preview

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1. Afghanistan’s ill-discipline costs them big time

Afghanistan missed a huge opportunity to pick up their second ever win in World Cups. Much of that can be put down to complete ill-discipline with the ball, conceding a total of 35 extras. By the 18th over, they had already given away 24 extras, bringing fears that India might finally play at this World Cup before this game was over.

Afghanistan lost by 34 runs. They conceded 35 extras. This, coupled with poor fielding, gave away crucial extra runs. This was Afghanistan’s most winnable game given Sri Lanka’s form. Despite forcing a Sri Lankan collapse, they missed out on the opportunity to pounce, leaving them only to sit in the dressing room drawing very important lessons.

Afghanistan v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points – Mohammad Nabi took three wickets in one over to bring Afghanistan right back into the game.

2. Mighty unconvincing from Sri Lanka

Dimuth Karunaratne’s team walked away with a win, but boy was in unconvincing. They made the right call sending the impressive Kusal Perera out to open. Sitting pretty at 144/1 with Afghanistan gifting them runs should have been enough for Sri Lanka to run away with it. However, it is not a Sri Lanka game if they don’t follow up good moments with absolutely awful ones.

Mathews, just before the 20th over, looked snug in his jacket and beanie watching Sri Lanka dominate. What followed, though, was complete chaos. Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews all got out to straight balls from the accurate and wily Mohammad Nabi. You felt wickets were coming as Hamid Hassan and Mohammad Nabi started to tighten things up, and Sri Lanka obliged. The calamitous run-out of Thisara Perera and ugly swipe from Isuru Udana summed up an awful 9/57 collapse. In the end, they just had enough, but no other team in this World Cup would be worried about Sri Lanka on the form showed in this game.

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3. Nuwan Pradeep means a lot to this Sri Lanka side

Lasith Malinga wound back the clock with his yorkers. However, it was Nuwan Pradeep’s day.

After Sri Lanka inexplicably left Pradeep out against New Zealand, he bowled superbly, getting Sri Lanka home just as he did in their recent ODI vs Scotland. The bounce and movement he can generate makes him a must-pick for Sri Lanka as he adds another dimension to their team.

Afghanistan v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points – Nuwan Pradeep has won man of the match in his last two ODIs.

4. What to do with Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews?

Sri Lanka need a complete rebuild after the World Cup. The kind where you knock everything down and start again.

Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews are at risk of being knocked down. Mendis, meant to be Sri Lanka’s next big thing, has edged all three balls he has faced in this tournament. Mathews has also nicked off twice, out for two ducks in as many innings.

Sri Lanka might stick with them for the meantime, but their inability at the moment to either stop a slide or build on top order momentum is very worrying.

Also read:

India v South Africa Preview

New Zealand v Bangladesh Preview

5. Should Najibullah Zadran bat up the order?

Najibullah Zadran has made an outstanding start to the 2019 World Cup. He followed up a fine 51 against Australia with an excellent 43 against Sri Lanka, before a run out that summed up the sloppiness Afghanistan displayed right through the game.

Indeed, there has to be a case for Najibullah to bat up the order. He came in at seven, below skipper Gulbadin Naib, and gave Afghanistan great hope of winning after falling to 57/5. With a potent New Zealand attack up next, Afghanistan might be well served moving Najibullah up to five or six.


A game that had talking points, but not because of its quality.

Sri Lanka scraped home in the end, but if they continue playing that sort of cricket, they will struggle to win another game in this World Cup. For Afghanistan, they began the day bowling in cold conditions, but they were frozen with nerves and ill-discipline. It was an opportunity missed for them, but lessons must be learnt and taken into their next game.

Thanks for reading!

Also, be sure check out my series of “five key talking points” from every CWC 2019 match! The latest:

England v Pakistan: From embarrassment to ecstasy for Pakistan!

South Africa v Bangladesh: #ProteaFire or #ProteaDire?

Thanks for reading!

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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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