Typhoon ‘Mangkhut’ is launching tensions over South-East Asia. Though Sri Lanka is not on its way, surely, Sri Lankan Cricket team is facing an unknown typhoon in the desert climate of the United Arab Emirates. If they aren’t so, then why will they get two consecutive worst defeat against Bangladesh and Afghanistan?
In the first match of the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka lost to Bangladesh by a massive margin of 137 runs. And in their second match, they have got another massive defeat of 91-runs against Afghanistan as well. With this two consecutive defeats, Sri Lanka has been knocked out from the group stage of this Asia Cup.
Before the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka team is facing some injury issues. In addition to the injury issues, their team performance was also downstream. Before coming to Dubai to take part in the Asia Cup, they lost the ODI series against South Africa on their home ground.
In the first match of the Asia Cup, they had to lose against Bangladesh by a huge margin of 137 runs. Basically, they were totally outplayed by Bangladesh in that match. In fact, the Sri Lankans were under tremendous pressure with this defeat in the tournament.
They had to beat the Afghans at any cost to keep their hope alive for this Asia Cup. In this match, Sri Lanka went down to the field with this desperate-looking equation. Besides, the statistics were also in favour of Sri Lanka. Until today’s match, the Sri Lankan never lost to the Afghans in an ODI. But statistics are not always effective. And it has been proved for one more time in this match.
After winning the toss, Afganistan captain decided to bat first and his team starts the innings quite well. Their opening pair took 57 runs in 11 overs. After the opener, Mohammad Shahzad dismissed, Afghans’ number-three batsman Rahmat Shah came to the crease.
He made a 50-run partnership with openers Ihsanullah. Afterwards, Afghanistan’s other opener Ihsanullah and Captain Asghar Afghan got dismissed in a quick succession. Rahmat Shah managed to handle this disaster with Hasmatullah Shahidi. They added 80 more runs to the board.
In the 42nd Over, Thisara Perera made the breakthrough by sending off Rahmat Shah. After this partnership, Afghans’ started to losing wickets in regular intervals. Afghanistan’s innings stopped at 249 runs. Thesira Perera took 5 for 55 and Rahmat Shah scored Afghanistan’s highest score of 72 runs.
While chasing 250+ runs here at the Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium in the last 19 matches, the batting-second side has won only 3 times. This scaring statistic and horrible batting display from the last match remained the same for Sri Lanka from the start of the innings.
Opener Kusal Mendis became the lbw of Mujibur Rahman in the second ball of the very first over of the innings. Subsequently, Upul Tharanga and Dhananjaya De Silva took control of that early disaster. But due to a silly misunderstanding, De Silva got run out while his team was on 54. After this dismissal, Sri Lanka started to losing wickets at regular intervals.
However, Matthews-Thisara pair showed some hope for the Sri Lankans in the sixth wicket stand of 35 runs. But after the dismissal of Angelo Mathews on 143 runs, Sri Lanka’s innings did not last long. They were bowled out for just 158 runs in 41.2 overs.
While Sri Lanka’s batting display was truly disappointing, the whole bowling unit of Afghanistan was extremely effective. Apart from the only paceman Aftab Alam, everyone has got 3 wickets each. And the Afghans fielding in the outfield was too good for the Sri Lankans. In fact, Afghanistan just outplayed Sri Lanka in every Department in this match.
Sri Lanka’s this defeat turns something really helpful for Bangladesh as well. Bangladesh’s next match against Afghanistan has nothing to do with the point table. So, the Tigers can relax a bit for now. But after being whitewashed to the Afghans in T20 a few months ago, there is no way to relax for the Bangladeshi Tigers.