Afghans target Lanka coup

Afghans target Lanka coup

After steamrolling Bangladesh for their first major win over a Test-playing nation, giant-killers Afghanistan would look to continue their flirtation with cricketing history when they take on leaders Sri Lanka in their Asia Cup cricket match here on Monday.

Buoyed by their spirited effort of taming Bangladesh by 32 runs in their own den at Fatullah on Saturday night, the gutsy team from the strife-torn nation would be eyeing another major upset against Sri Lanka.

The minnows would find it difficult to achieve further glory in the five-nation tournament against an increasingly stronger opponent Sri Lanka, who are sitting comfortably atop the points table with eight points after scoring back-to-back victories against Pakistan and India.

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

Afghanistan have four points from two matches with one win and a loss in their kitty. However, they don’t have anything to lose from this tournament as they are featuring in the Asia Cup for the first time in its history.

Should Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka, it would complete a fairytale journey for them in the tournament, giving the war-torn nation a desperately needed boost. Their victory over Bangladesh was wildly celebrated back home on the streets.

Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan has already sounded a warning bell for India and Sri Lanka, stating that they are “hungry to win” against them.

“All of our boys are very hungry to win a game or two here they know how much it will change the team. If we get one or two wins it will change the future of youngsters and the next ten years of Afghanistan cricket,” Kabir had told reporters after their loss to Pakistan in Fatullah.

Afghanistan had reduced Pakistan to 117 for six before the latter recovered well to win the match by 72 runs.

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