The warm-up matches on the day one saw Sri Lanka take on South Africa and while Pakistan locked horns with Afghanistan.
Afghanistan v Pakistan:
This match occurred as best teaser possible for the World Cup as the “underdogs” Afghanistan stunned Pakistan with a three-wicket victory in the first warm-up match of the World Cup to prolong Pakistan’s losing run which has touched 11 matches in a row now.
Opting to bat first, Pakistan added 47 runs for the first wicket and it was Babar Azam’s 112 alongside Shoaib Malik’s 44 that took the team to 262. The most important factor in Babar Azam’s knock is he had a strike rate of 108, something that was missing in earlier matches. Considering the conditions in England, it is important for him to score runs quickly. Dawlat Zadran and Rashid Khan had two wickets each for Afghanistan but the pick of the bowlers is Mohammad Nabi who had three wickets.
In return, Afghanistan started well with 80 runs for the first wicket. They would have continued for more but unfortunately, Shahzad had hurt himself and had to walk back, retired hurt. Hazratullah Zazai, on the other hand, scored 49 off 28 and that really did set the tone for the team. While Shah, Shenwari and Nabi had starts, Shahidi stood unbeaten on 72, took his team home safe. The highlight of the match was definitely the bunch of boundaries which Zazai had in the over of young Afridi.
With no doubts, this match will boost the confidence of the Afghanistan team and they are the team to beat in this World Cup, the underdogs can be the slayers on their day. For Pakistan, it is a wake-up call right before the World Cup and hopefully, they will bounce back with the right combination. Of course, the players are super talented to stand up when it is really needed. Hopefully, they will.
Sri Lanka v South Africa:
In the second Warm Up game, Sri Lanka opted to bowl first and Sri Lanka decided to rest Malinga while South Africa rested Steyn. Right from the ball one, South African batsmen went in with the intention to attack and they managed to find the gaps as well. Except for David Miller, every single batsman had at least 20 runs with captain Faf Du Plessis topping the charts, scored 88 off 69 deliveries.
While chasing the target of 339, Sri Lanka lost Kusal Perera early but captain Karunaratne continued his fine form with yet another fifty in the fifty over cricket, scored 87. He had support from Kusal Mendis who scored 37 and Angelo Mathews who managed to score 64. Other than the three batters, no other stood up for the team as Sri Lanka managed only 251, losing the match by 87 runs. Not only that, Sri Lankan bowlers Fernando and Udana suffered a niggle as well.
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