The Telegraph
Monday , March 3 , 2014
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Afghanistan aim to topple Lanka, too

Mirpur: After steamrolling Bangladesh to record their first major win over a Test-playing nation, giantkillers Afghanistan would look to continue their good run when they take on Sri Lanka in their Asia Cup match, here, on Monday.

Buoyed by their spirited effort of taming Bangladesh by 32 runs at the latter’s den, in Fatullah on Saturday, the gritty unit from the strife-torn nation would be eyeing another major upset against Sri Lanka.

Afghanistan, though, would find it difficult to achieve further glory against an increasingly stronger opponent in Sri Lanka, who are sitting comfortably atop the standings with eight points, after scoring back-to-back victories against Pakistan and India.

With two wins and a healthy run rate of +0.168, Sri Lanka have virtually assured themselves of a final berth, while Afghanistan’s hopes of further progress in the tournament would depend on the outcome of Monday’s match.

Their coach Kabir Khan has already sounded a warning bell for India and Sri Lanka, saying they are “hungry to win”.

Sri Lanka boast of in-form batsmen Kumar Sangakkara and opener Lahiru Thirimanne at the top, while the fiery Lasith Malinga, who is fresh from his match-winning five-for against Pakistan, completes the bowling set up.

Having arrived in the country late January for a full series, Sri Lanka have been experiencing an extended taste of conditions in Bangladesh, emerging winners across all formats. In opener Kusal Perera, Thirimanne will have a perfect partner as the duo will look to give their side a perfect start.