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Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka | Game Against Afghanistan a Must-win One for Us: Malinga

| June 4, 2019, 9:15 AM IST

Cardiff: A 10-wicket thrashing from New Zealand still fresh in their minds, veteran Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga Monday said their second World Cup match against Afghanistan is a "must-win" one for the Islanders.

Both Sri Lanka and Afghanistan suffered defeats in their tournament openers and will square off against each other here on Tuesday.

While Sri Lanka suffered a 10-wicket loss to New Zealand, Afghanistan were beaten by seven wickets by defending champions Australia.

"We need a must-win game in this competition, we need a must-win game tomorrow. We will try our best in accuracy and tactically, everything hopefully will be there tomorrow," Malinga said on the eve of the Afghanistan game.

Sri Lanka collapsed to 136 within 30 overs against the Black Caps and Malinga said the batsmen needed to take more responsibility against the ever-improving Afghans.

"At the moment, we are concerned with our own skill and how we're going to play. That's what we are most concerned about. Whoever is batting or bowling, he has to have a perfect game," Malinga said.

"The most important thing we need is patience, patience is very important. We know these conditions, we can have someone get 60, 70 runs and still some balls can move.

"We have to analyse the conditions. Whoever is the batsman, he has to finish the game. Whoever takes responsibility, bowler or batsman, whoever is the best tomorrow will win."

The 35-year-old right-arm fast bowler, however, cautioned his teammates against taking Afghanistan lightly.

"Afghanistan have experienced players because most of the players play in franchise cricket," he added.

"They have that experience, they know how to accelerate and they have confidence, a few from IPL and others have been playing franchise cricket. The important thing is pressure handling.

"I think they have more experience, especially handling pressure, and that's the big challenge for us. I believe if we do our best, we can see good finishing at the end of the day."

After winning the World Cup way back in 1996, Sri Lanka finished second-best in 2007 and 2011.

The worrying factor for Sri Lanka is that they had only won two of their last 16 ODIs coming into the tournament.

But Malinga still believes Sri Lanka have the ability to go far in the tournament, provided they can pick up a confidence-boosting win against Afghanistan on Tuesday.

"I think for our first match back against New Zealand, we know how tough these conditions are and we tried our best but it didn't go our way," Malinga noted

"We have in this tournament nine matches, but it's just our second match starting tomorrow and before the match both teams are the same - no runs, no wickets, still the same.

"Whoever is doing the best first half of the innings, they can carry on the winning way. We have talent but not much experience in these conditions and people to have to realise what the team expects in this situation," Malinga concluded.

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

6 5 1 0 10 +0.84
5 4 0 1 9 +1.59
5 4 1 0 8 +1.86
4 3 0 1 7 +1.02
6 2 3 1 5 -0.40
5 1 2 2 4 -1.77
5 1 3 1 3 +0.27
6 1 4 1 3 -0.19
5 1 3 1 3 -1.93
5 0 5 0 0 -2.08

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
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