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116/10 in 22.25.19
Toss Winner - Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first
Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by 9 wickets
Sri Lanka look to continue their form in the series decider
Sri Lanka to win the series 2-1
Tournament: Afghanistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2023 | Format: ODI | Venue: Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota, Sri Lanka | Toss: To BowlBet Now
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Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will lock horns in the series-decider at Hambantota. A comeback from the Sri Lankan batters coupled with some impressive bowling from Dhananjaya de Silva helped the hosts level the series 1-1.
In the opening match of this ODI series, Afghanistan chased down a 269-run target with 6 wickets in hand. In the 2nd ODI, Sri Lanka’s top order stepped up and delivered significant knocks that took the score beyond 300.
Wanindu Hasaranga came in for the 2nd ODI and picked 3 for 42 helping clean up the Afghanistan tail. While Hasaranga replaced Lahiru Kumara, Sri Lanka brought in Dushmantha Chameera for Pathirana.
Though Sri Lanka bowled out the opposition for just 191 runs in the last match, we reckon it is still a good batting pitch. Both teams should be aiming at a good score if they bat first. Afghanistan have a strong top 5 and with a few good partnerships at the top, they can repeat their 1st ODI performance.
Sri Lanka were quick to correct their mistakes and stage a comeback against the visitors in the 2nd ODI. Kusal Mendis lived up to the expectations and delivered an impactful knock at number 3.
A strong player at that position who can play the anchor’s role in the innings can be crucial to build partnerships in the middle. It was a good day for the openers as well who put on 82 runs for the first wicket.
Dimuth Karunaratne, who has a good Test record, has struggled in ODIs for most part. With only 7 fifties from 32 outings and no hundred, Karunaratne hasn’t utilized his full potential yet.
His fifty in the last match gave Sri Lanka a good start, but as a senior player with 86 Test matches to his name, Karunaratne is expected to play a much longer innings for Sri Lanka. Samarawickrama who replaced Matthews at number 4 quickly proved the selection right with his 44-run knock.
But again, it’s another case of a good-start that did not convert in the Sri Lanka batting lineup. It is a deep batting lineup with de Silva, Shanaka, and Hasaranga in the lower order, all capable of scoring runs. Dasun Shanka will be confident coming into this 3rd ODI as all of his selections in the last game proved effective.
Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha
Fareed Ahmad Malik, Gulbadin Naib, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Rahmanullah Gurbaz
Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi will surely be missing Rashid Khan a great deal as his bowlers went for 323 runs after being put to field first. Fazallaq Farooqi who got through the Sri Lankan top-order in the 1st ODI failed to get a wicket in the 2nd match.
Mohamamd Nabi delivered the first breakthrough in the 16th over as he trapped Pathum Nissanka LBW. The 18-year old Noor Ahmed was quick enough to deliver another blow as Karunaratne was out LBW this time. It was here that the match could swing either way.
Sri Lanka had lost two quick wickets, both openers back in the pavilion. The 88-run partnership for the 3rd wicket turned the game in Sri Lanka’s favor. It wasn’t going to be easy to chase 300+ for Afghanistan against a strong and experienced Sri Lankan bowling attack.
It seems that it was with the new, moving ball, that the Afghanistan pacers could make inroads early in the powerplay. However, if the Sri Lankan openers played them out with caution, the pacers would be left ineffective for the rest of the innings.
The key to a win in this series-decider is the bowling. The hosts have a deep lineup and early wickets will help Afghanistan to gain the upper hand. Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, and skipper Shahidi are all key players who are in good touch in the batting order.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad Malik
It is a batting friendly pitch which aids the pacers in the 1st innings with good bounce while spinners can have their say as the game progresses. The weather will be cloudy with a high of 32 degrees Celsius.
Mahindra Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota is the venue for all the matches in this ODI series. The lowest score defended on this venue is 314 runs by India. Team batting first will be eyeing to cross the 300-run mark to give themselves the best chance of winning here.
There isn’t much difference between the wins for team batting first and second on this ground. Since the pitch has been used for the last two ODIs, we reckon it will not be as easy to score big here in the last game. As a result, chasing should be out of the window, especially with spinners in play.
Sri Lanka will be coming into this match with confidence after a big win in the last match. Afghanistan can crumble if they lose early wickets in a run-chase. Though they’ve improved a great deal over the years, we reckon Sri Lanka’s experienced bowling attack will have the edge in this contest. Rashid Khan could have made a difference if he featured in the XI. Afghanistan’s pacers are quite inexperienced and if their initial spell goes wicketless, the hosts can once again build a big score enough to secure a win.
Sri Lanka to win the series 2-1
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