Afghanistan and Sri Lanka have both suffered a heavy loss in their respective opening games of the ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup. However, the Afghans would have felt less bad due to them having at least put up a fight and that too, against one of the favourites, Australia. This may not be the most high-profile game of the World Cup since both teams are not regarded as likely contenders for the ultimate prize. Still, there are good reasons why you should tune in and watch this game. Here are 5 of them.
Best opportunity for Afghanistan
Of all the games Afghanistan are going to play in this World Cup, this one is the most likely to witness a win for them. They have already achieved a great deal by qualifying for this event. But to prove that they are worthy of belonging to the big league, they have to start winning against major Test teams. Beating a weak-looking Sri Lanka should be the starting point.
Possibility of a Lankan fightback
Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. Who could have expected a timid-looking Sri Lankan team to defeat South Africa 2-0 in a Test series in their own backyard? Similarly, while no one looks at the Lankan side in this event as a serious contender, they may well have a surprise or two up their sleeve. Let's not forget that in 2017 Champions Trophy, they ended up defeating India in the round-robin stage when no one expected it and, if it wasn't for a dropped catch, might have knocked out eventual winners Pakistan from the tournament. Will they regain some form against Afghanistan? It's worth watching out for.
Will Rashid Khan spin his web?
There is no doubt that leg-spinner Rashid Khan is the biggest star of Afghan cricket. He is a most valuable player in T20 leagues around the world but now the hopes and expectations of his countrymen would be for him to produce similar efforts for his national team on the biggest stage of ODI cricket. Here is an opportunity for the leggie to leave his mark on the tournament. Watching him in action would be very interesting.
Watching Hamid Hassan in action
The most exciting fast bowler that Afghanistan have produced so far, Hamid Hasan would be in action again. In the first game against Australia, he looked brilliant and bowled an exciting spell with lively pace. Unfortunately, his team couldn't support him. But if that performance is anything to go by, watching this bowler in action again would be very exciting.
If there was one man in the Sri Lankan batting line-up who could hold his head high after the first game against New Zealand, it was their captain Dimuth Karunaratne. While everyone else struggled or threw his wicket away, Karunaratne kept battling and looked in pretty solid form. Against Afghanistan, he would like to complete the unfinished business and get a big score.