Sri Lanka aims to end Cardiff woes against Afghanistan

After both teams suffered heavy defeats, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka will aim to kick-start their World Cup campaigns on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka would look to bounce back after starting off with a defeat to New Zealand.   -  Getty Images

Afghanistan and Sri Lanka will both be hoping to bounce back after heavy opening defeats when they meet in the Cricket World Cup on Tuesday.

The two nations were soundly beaten in their opening fixtures at this year’s tournament, both failing to bat out 50 overs before watching their opponents knock off below-par scores with ease.

Sri Lanka's innings lasted just 29.2 overs against New Zealand in Cardiff on Saturday as it posted a paltry 136 in testing conditions with only three batsmen making it to double figures.

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The Kiwis knocked off the runs without losing a wicket, meaning Sri Lanka is yet to register a win in the Welsh capital in five games.

It is back at the same venue to take on an Afghanistan side who managed to do slightly better with the bat at nearby Bristol at the weekend, though a total of 207 all out was never enough to trouble reigning champions Australia.

The only previous World Cup meeting between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka came four years ago, with the latter victorious by four wickets in Dunedin.

However, Dimuth Karunaratne's side have lost nine of its last 10 ODI games in 2019, also suffered a 91-run defeat in its most recent meeting with its next opponents, at the Asia Cup last September.

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Thisara Perera claimed five wickets in a losing cause on that occasion but the all-rounder will be looked to contribute with the bat in England, too.

His strike rate of 112.4 runs per 100 deliveries is impressive; of the 225 players to score over 2,000 ODI runs only three - Glenn Maxwell, Jos Buttler and Shahid Afridi - have done so at a faster rate.

Perera made 27 at the weekend while Sri Lanka struggled against the Black Caps' battery of seamers, Afghanistan will rely more heavily on its spinners to do the damage.

Rashid Khan is the key bowler for Afghanistan, having claimed 99 one-day wickets since the start of 2017, more than any other slow bowler.

Interestingly, none of the six sides who have opted to bat first in an ODI at Cardiff after winning the toss have prevailed. Considering the early start in English conditions, the captains may want to factor in the ground's history when deciding what to do at the toss.