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Cricket World Cup matchday seven: Sri Lanka up and running as India prepare to start campaign

Will India lay down a marker as their World Cup campaign begins?

Sri Lanka recovered from a batting collapse to fightback in the field and defeat Afghanistan (David Davies/PA)
Sri Lanka recovered from a batting collapse to fightback in the field and defeat Afghanistan (David Davies/PA)

Sri Lanka made the most of a rain break to kick-start their World Cup campaign after recovering from a spectacular batting collapse to beat Afghanistan in Cardiff.

After losing eight wickets for 57 runs as Sri Lanka slumped from 144 for one to 201 all out, it looked like another defeat was on the cards.

However, a delay of more than two hours as the Welsh weather took a turn for the worse saw Afghanistan left to chase down a revised target of 187 off 41 overs – which proved just beyond them in being dismissed for 152 to suffer a second straight defeat.

Attention now turns to India’s opening match of the tournament against South Africa in Southampton, while the Oval will play host to the day/night clash between Bangladesh and New Zealand, both teams looking to maintain their 100 per cent start.

Quote of the day

I can't explain what happened. Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusingha

Even Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusingha was left struggling to fathom the deluge of wickets his side surrendered in their batting collapse before mounting a recovery with the ball.

Tweet of day six

Former Sri Lanka player Russel Arnold sums up the mood after a tough, but crucial victory for the team that kick-started their World Cup campaign.

Tournament tracker

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(PA Graphics)

Magic over

Mohammad Nabi turned the game on its head in Cardiff. Sri Lanka had been cruising along at 144 for one in an impressive recovery following their crushing defeat against New Zealand last Saturday, but Nabi put them in a spin by taking three wickets during an over that spread panic through Sri Lanka’s ranks and underpinned them collapsing to 182 for eight before the rain arrived.

World Cup snapshot

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Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga celebrates taking a wicket in Cardiff (David Davies/PA)

Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga again underlined his quality as an outstanding bowler at key stages, as he finished off the Afghanistan innings in Cardiff to see his team claim a vital victory.

Stat attack

The key bowling performance from Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Pradeep, who was called up for the Afghanistan game after missing Saturday’s comprehensive defeat against New Zealand, and he justified his selection with an outstanding contribution.

One to watch

South Africa paceman Dale Steyn has been ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury, which not only robs the Proteas of the man most likely to raise their prospects after successive defeats, it also leaves the World Cup without one of its stars. Left-arm paceman Beuran Hendricks has been called up as a replacement, and with Lungi Ngidi also nursing a hamstring problem, it remains to be seen just who will spearhead the South Africa attack as they aim to avoid a potential early World Cup exit.

What’s next?

South Africa v India, Southampton (10.30am)
Bangladesh v New Zealand, The Oval (1.30pm)

Table

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(PA Graphics)

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