Sri Lanka has been plagued by a series of unfortunate setbacks in the 2023 Cricket World Cup, with their latest blow being the in-form pacer, Lahiru Kumara, succumbing to a debilitating thigh injury. Kumara, who had been in stellar form, was instrumental in Sri Lanka’s thrilling victory over England in their most recent game. However, his World Cup journey came to a premature end as he suffered a left thigh injury during a practice session in Pune. This injury has ruled him out of the remainder of the tournament.
The responsibility of filling Kumara’s shoes now falls upon the experienced shoulders of Dushmantha Chameera. Interestingly, when the initial squad for the marquee event was announced, Chameera was deemed unfit for selection. Nevertheless, Sri Lanka’s ongoing ODI World Cup campaign has been tumultuous, marked by a lack of consistency and a series of unfortunate injuries.
While Chameera is undoubtedly one of Sri Lanka’s premier fast bowlers in the modern era, boasting over 100 international appearances, Kumara’s injury is a severe blow given his current good form. Notably, Kumara’s fiery spell of 3/35 in seven overs earned him the Player of the Match award in the game against England.
This is the third alteration to the ‘Lankan Lions’ squad since the World Cup commenced. Previously, Matheesha Pathirana and regular captain Dasun Shanaka were ruled out due to injuries. Their positions were subsequently filled by Chamika Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews. The constant shuffling of the squad due to injuries has disrupted Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign and has made it challenging for the team to find its footing.
Sri Lanka is scheduled to face Afghanistan in a pivotal ODI World Cup 2023 clash on Monday, October 30. Both teams are still in contention for a semi-final berth, having secured two wins each from their five matches. Sri Lanka holds the fifth position on the points table, primarily due to a superior net run rate. On the other hand, Afghanistan, led by Hashmatullah Shahidi, is positioned at seventh place and is desperate for a victory in their upcoming match to improve their chances of progressing.
Both teams are entering the game on the back of morale-boosting victories in their previous outings. Sri Lanka triumphed over England by a convincing eight-wicket margin, while Afghanistan overcame Pakistan by the same margin. The match between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan is crucial as the team that suffers a defeat will likely see its semi-final aspirations dashed.
As a result, both Asian sides are expected to unleash their full firepower, leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of victory on Monday. This match promises to be a contest of intense competition and high stakes, with the winner taking a significant step closer to the semi-finals of the 2023 Cricket World Cup.