Another round of matches conclude at the ICC Cricket World Cup on Monday when two Asian sides meet in Pune when the campaigns of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka go back on the line in a do or die clash for both teams.
With four sides on eight or more points and these two on four points with three matches left after this one, the loser of this match will be all but out of the competition and battling to qualify for the Champions Trophy in 2025. The winners stay alive so this is nicely poised.
Just quietly, Afghanistan are having a decent campaign here with a couple of wins and three defeats in their opening five matches. It probably isn’t the position that they would have wanted to be in but they are still in position where they can win out and reach the semi-finals. They come into this match off the back of a very convincing win over Pakistan and a similar performance here could see them getting the job done here too.
Generally in this tournament when Afghanistan have batted well for the whole 50 overs they have got the job done. That isn’t unexpected when you consider the quality that they have on offer with the ball, particularly in the spin department. Pune has generally been good for batting though so there will be nothing for Afghanistan if they are not able to bat well throughout the innings. Their top three look in decent form though which bodes well.
It looked like this would be a bit of a damp squib of a competition for Sri Lanka but to their credit they go into this match off the back of successive victories where they have started to look really good and a third straight win here will give them hope of chasing down either Australia or New Zealand in the race for a semi-final spot, particularly given that they still have the latter to play in what is beginning to look like a huge match.
At the outset of the competition the Sri Lankan bowling was leaving them exposed because it was going around the park but the longer the tournament has gone on the better they have been with the ball. It should be said that they have only beaten the Netherlands and England so far and there is every chance they will be the bottom two in the standings at the end of this phase, but the eye test will tell you that Sri Lanka are getting better with every game.
Sign up for a Boylesports account and bet £10 to get up to £20 in free bets! Perfect offer for the World Cup! Click the image below for this great offer! New accounts only. 18+ T&Cs apply. Gamble Aware.
Afghanistan are expected to make just the one change to their side for this match with Fazalhaq Farooqi likely to return to the side. Noor Ahmad is the man who will most probably make way in otherwise unchanged side.
Sri Lanka have been forced into another change as this curse which is hanging over their bowling right now has claimed another victim. Lahiru Kumara has been ruled out with injury so Dushmantha Chameera will return to the ODI team.
These two sides have met in six ODI matches in the last year or so which means that they will be fully acquainted with the test that is in front of them and on a good batting pitch I expect the trend of a number of those matches being high scoring to continue. The pitch was good in the only other match on this ground and in the IPL games which are held here they are usually high scoring so I’m certainly expecting that to be the trend here.
I’m tempted by the match runs here but both these sides are in the situation where as well as winning the game they have to nurse their net run rate if given the chance so the boundaries have a little more appeal to me here. Both teams if given the chance will look to chase a score down quickly so the 59.5 boundaries line looks a touch on the low side to me, particularly when you consider that their last meeting in the Asia Cup had 71 boundaries in it and this pitch should be better for batting. Over 59.5 boundaries will do me here.
Back Over 59.5 boundaries for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Bet365