Can the defending champions Sri Lanka make a winning start to their World T20 2016 campaign when they take on Afghanistan? Get the latest Sri Lanka v Afghanistan betting tips for this World T20 encounter in the article that follows.
The reigning World T20 Champions, Sri Lanka, will begin the defence of their title at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday, with a match against the qualifiers and Associate ICC Members, Afghanistan.
There was a time just a few years ago, when this would have been looked upon as a “dead cert” Sri Lanka victory, but times have changed, and while the Champions are currently enduring a slump in performances and results, their opponents in Kolkata are a team that is still enjoying an upsurge in fortunes.
With Sri Lanka now ranked as low as eighth by the ICC in the T20I format of the game, just one place above Afghanistan, the “minnows” will probably be targeting Thursday’s contest as the match that is most likely to bring them a victory, in a pool that also contains England, South Africa and the West Indies.
Over the past year, Sri Lanka have managed to win just three of the 13 matches that they have played. While Afghanistan have registered 16 wins in 19 attempts, albeit against inferior opposition.
The two sides haven’t met since they faced each other in the ODI World Cup in Australasia in 2015, when the Sri Lankans claimed a 4-wicket win with 10 deliveries remaining.
It is hardly surprising that Sri Lanka went through a difficult period following their victory in 2014. Very few sides in the world would be able to cope with the loss two greats of the game, such as Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, both now retired from international cricket. However, two years down the line, they still appear to be a spent force, and unlikely to make it through to the knockout stage of the tournament.
While their leading bowler and T20 captain, Lasith Malinga, while still capable of bowling the odd devastating spell, is in the final throes of a great career, and is more and more blighted by injury.
Sri Lanka v Afghanistan head-to-head
Afghanistan have never played Sri Lanka before this but lost a game to Sri Lanka A before.
Sri Lanka v Afghanistan betting tips for the World T20 2016 match one:
Sri Lanka to win with bet365: 1/5
The match begins at 7.30 pm local time (2 pm GMT) on Thursday, March 17.