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It's a blast


Published on: June 3, 2019 | Updated on: June 3, 2019

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga knows what his side needs to avoid a loss to Afghanistan.

Cardiff (Wales): Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib has played down the weather threat ahead of their World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, saying a rain-shortened game would suit his aggressive side.

Forecasts predict persistent rain in Cardiff, which could play havoc with Afghanistan’s bid to get their first win in this year’s tournament.

Naib’s team were given a harsh lesson by holders Australia, who cruised to a seven-wicket win in the opening game for both teams in Bristol on Saturday.

But Naib believes his team have a better chance of success against Sri Lanka, whom they beat by 91 runs in last year’s Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates, if the contest is reduced from the scheduled 50 overs-per-side due to the weather.

Asked on Monday if he was worried about rain derailing Afghanistan’s hopes, a relaxed Naib told reporters: "It was also predicted for today, but it didn’t rain so much."

"Tomorrow we just see what’s the weather. I think maybe the weather will be the same. So if we can reduce the overs it will be much better for us," he said.

Despite the defeat against Australia, Naib says Afghanistan were encouraged by parts of their performance and he hopes to build on that in the Sri Lanka match. "We’ve got to be positive. If you look, we missed out on 12 overs in the previous game, yet we scored 200-plus," Naib said.

"If you have wickets in hand, so maybe the score is 300-plus something."Sri Lanka were dismissed for a paltry 136 by New Zealand in their first World Cup match in Cardiff and Naib plans to prey on those batting weaknesses. I saw the Sri Lankans play on TV. They lost a few games in the last two years and they’re struggling in one-day matches," he said.

"Yeah, we have the opportunity to do well against them," added the skipper, whose team lost to Sri Lanka at the 2015 World Cup.

"But they are also a good team and we cannot it take easy. If we play 50 overs maybe it will be difficult for them," he said.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga knows what his side needs to avoid a loss to Afghanistan. "We need to get mentally tough. And all the pressure is with us, yes, but we have to play with a free mind," the 35-year-old paceman said Monday on the eve of the group game in Cardiff.

Malinga said the Sri Lankan players needed to be more concerned about their own level than whatever Afghanistan brings to the game. "Whoever is batting, whoever is bowling, he has to get the perfect game tomorrow," he said.