Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka: Preview and Prediction

Can Afghanistan defeat Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023?

After defeating Bangladesh by 5 wickets to kickstart their 2023 Asia Cup encounter, Sri Lanka faces familiar foes Afghanistan on Tuesday at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. This will be Afghanistan’s second encounter in the group stages with a Super 4 berth on the line. 

The 2023 Asia Cup acts as a warm-up to the more-important ICC Cricket World Cup in India scheduled to start on October 5 this year. Sri Lanka had to go through the qualifiers before booking their ticket. Owing to their superior ODI rankings, Afghanistan qualified directly for the mega show. 

Sri Lanka will be banking on their spin prowess with the duo of Maheesh Theekshana and Dunith Wellalage aiming to confuse the batters with sharp turn and bounce. Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, and Lahiru Madudhanka are nursing their injuries. 

Afghanistan, on the other hand, will have to play without the likes of Naveen-ul-Haq and Azmatullah Omarzai as they are out injured. Led by Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afghanistan will bank on their star players Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rashid Khan, and Fazalhaq Farooqi. 

What have they done so far? 

In a bid to prepare for the 2023 Asia Cup, Afghanistan played Pakistan in a three-match ODI series in Sri Lanka. The Afghans came second best to lose the series 3-0. 

They were bundled out for 59 in the first ODI while chasing 202 with Gurbaz and Omarzai being the only batters to score in double digits. Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman’s three-wicket haul went in vain and so did Mohammad Nabi’s important scalps of Iftikhar Ahmed and Imam-Ul-Haq. 

In the second ODI, Afghanistan came close to victory but lost by one wicket after Naseem Shah hit Farooqi for two boundaries in the last over while chasing 301. Gurbaz knocked 151 at a strike rate of 100 while Ibrahim Zadran notched 80 off 101 balls. Farooqi and Nabi shared five wickets between themselves but it bore no fruits in the end. 

Afghanistan were bowled out for 209 against a total of 268 put in by Pakistan. All the Afghan bowlers had their wickets column filled with Gulbadin Naib conceding only 36 runs off his 4 overs. Mujeeb Ur Rahman played a handy knock of 64 off 37 but hit wicket himself in the end. 

Afghanistan lost to Bangladesh by 89 runs in their first group-stage match. Bangladesh put on board a mammoth 334-5. Afghanistan could only muster 255 in reply with Hashmatullah Shahidi and Ibrahim Zadran’s half-centuries going in vain. 

Sri Lanka is coming on the back of an impressive five-wicket victory over Bangladesh. Matheesha Pathirana picked up four wickets, including that of Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan. Sri Lanka were 43-3 at one point while chasing 165. But, half-centuries from Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka each guided them to a comfortable win. 

Prior to that, Sri Lanka participated in the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers where they bowled out each and every opposition. Hasaranga and Theekshana ended as the highest wicket-taker with 22 and 21 wickets to their name respectively. 

With the bat, Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne finished as the tournament’s top scorers with 417 and 369 runs from 8 and 7 matches respectively. 

Also Read: England vs New Zealand 4th T20I: Preview and Prediction

Head to Head record 

There have been a total of 10 ODI encounters between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan in the past, with the former winning on six occasions. Afghanistan have gained the upper hand thrice with one match ending in no result. 

Afghanistan and Sri Lanka squared off in a three-match ODI series with the latter winning by a 2-1 margin in June 2023. 

In the third ODI, Afghanistan were bundled out for 116. Sri Lanka used only four bowlers with Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga sharing seven wickets between themselves. Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne’s half-centuries each made the win look very easy. 

Afghanistan’s only win in the series came in the first ODI when they chased 269 with six wickets in hand. Ibrahim Zadran’s 98 off 98 alongside Rahmat Shah’s 55 off 80 propelled them to victory. Fazalhaq Farooqi and Fareed Ahmed picked two wickets each as Charith Asalanka’s innings of 91 runs went in vain. 

Key Players


Matheesha Pathirana picked up a four-wicket haul in his Asia Cup debut

Matheesha Pathirana: Eyebrows were raised when Sri Lanka announced their squad for the Asia Cup 2023 as their prominent bowlers were missing. Pathirana put all the doubts to rest with his 4-32 figures in his Asia Cup debut. 

Pathirana is lethal in the middle overs with the old ball and like Malinga gives little room to tailenders with his searing yorkers. 

Rahmanullah Gurbaz: Fresh off his highest ODI score of 151, all eyes will be on Gurbaz when Afghanistan steps up. He has proven his ability to negotiate the new ball and make the most of the gaps in the powerplay. 

Sri Lankan pacers will have to take the wicket of Gurbaz quickly if they want to restrict Afghanistan to a low score. Gurbaz was able to score only 1 run in the fixture against Bangladesh and would be eager to make amends. 

Predicted XIs

Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka ©, Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana 

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Riaz Hassan, Ibrahim Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi ©, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Noor Ahmad 


Afghanistan’s batting line-up has looked sloppy in the middle recently. Things could get really tough for them if either one of Gurbaz or Zadran fails to fire on all cylinders. 

Sri Lanka has a strong bowling side with Theekshana and Pathirana in the form of their life. It would be an arduous task for Afghanistan to cross the 200-run barrier. Sri Lanka should gather a comfortable win.