In a thrilling three-match ODI series between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, the underdogs from Afghanistan have shattered expectations and turned the tables. Initially dismissed due to the absence of their star player, Rashid Khan, and Sri Lanka's formidable home advantage, Afghanistan has shown remarkable resilience and team strength.
In the first ODI, they stamped their authority by comfortably defeating Sri Lanka by six wickets. However, Sri Lanka, known for their ability to bounce back, retaliated fiercely in the second match, clinching a resounding victory with a massive margin of 132 runs. The top bookmakers have odds with them on their platform.
As anticipation builds for the decisive third ODI, both teams are preparing for an all-out battle. Scheduled for Wednesday, June 7, this crucial encounter will once again take place at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota, the battleground that has witnessed breath-taking action so far. With everything on the line, the teams are expected to bring forth their best starting 11s and implement strategic manoeuvres to gain the upper hand in this high-stakes match.
In comparison to their lineup in the first game, Sri Lanka made numerous changes in the second ODI. During the toss in the first ODI, Dasun Shanaka said he would switch up his bowling lineup throughout the series. In the previous game, their bowlers, particularly the spinners, performed superbly, and the batters also made a significant contribution that enabled the team to achieve a huge total on the scoreboard.
As this is a crucial match, no significant changes are anticipated unless there is a forced change.
Predicted Lineup: 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
Rashid Khan is a player who gives a unique enthusiasm to every side he plays for, and Afghanistan's team is sorely lacking his services. Additionally, they are playing with a new captain, which has been challenging for the players. They have nevertheless continued to play excellent cricket as a team and have done so in the past.
In this encounter, Afghanistan is expected to put together the same starting line-up.
Predicted Lineup: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, and Fareed Ahmad
In the buildup to the Asia Cup 2023 and 2023 being a World Cup year, this series holds a significant role for both these teams in preparation for both these events. And more so for the Lankans, as they have not secured a direct entry to the World Cup and will be playing the qualifiers in Zimbabwe. So far in this series, both teams have given their all, and we have had cracking contests. The third one, being an all-important match, will be one to watch out for.
The key for Afghanistan remains Ibrahim Zadran, who has batted brilliantly in this tour, and for Sri Lanka, the main player will be Wanindu Hasaranga. Ibrahim Zadran and Wanindu Hasaranga will also be a key matchup during the middle overs, and this battle could prove to be the deciding factor in which direction this match goes.