Afghanistan piled on the misery on Sri Lanka by humiliating them in the 2018 Asia Cup on Monday, winning their group match by 91 runs.
Sri Lanka had earlier lost to Bangladesh by 137 runs in their tournament opener. Their second straight defeat meant the 2014 champions are now out of the Asia Cup. Angelo Mathews’s team needed to beat Afghanistan to stay alive in the competition but were outwitted by smart batting from their opponents, who are ranked 10th in the world.
Sri Lanka have now lost 30 of their 41 One-Day International matches since January 2017, winning only 10, which is far from ideal preparation for next year’s World Cup. If you go by win/loss ratio, Sri Lanka’s performance since 2017 in ODIs is the worst out of all the 10 teams that will participate in the 2019 World Cup.
Sri Lanka’s win/loss ratio in this period is 0.333. Only Papua New Guinea have a worse record (0.300) out of all the ODI-playing teams in the world.
ODI record since January 2017
Since January 2017, Sri Lanka have lost bilateral ODI series at home to Zimbabwe (2-3), India (0-5) and South Africa (2-3). Away from home, the Lankans lost to South Africa 0-5, to Pakistan 0-5 (in the UAE) and to India 1-2. The only series that Sri Lanka have won in this period is the tri-nation tournament at home featuring Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka, who have won five Asia Cup titles, had lost half of their side for 60 in the 17th over against Bangladesh before being bowled out for 124 in 35.2 overs. This was their second-worst defeat against Bangladesh in 45 ODIs.
The Lankans have been hampered by injuries to opening batsman Dhanushka Gunathilaka (back) and Dinesh Chandimal (finger) ahead of the Asia Cup, but their early exit was still quite shocking. They were expected to at least reach the Super 4 stage of the tournament.
Sri Lankan cricket has been mired in controversy over the last few years, with allegations of match-fixing, corruption and ball-tampering plaguing the board and team. Criminal investigators were called in last week to investigate an alleged $5.5 million fraud at Sri Lanka Cricket involving money from a looming England tour, officials said.
World Cup-winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga, who is now a politician, had said earlier this year that corruption “goes right to the top” in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Cricket recently announced plans for tougher laws against sports corruption and a special police unit to deal with match-fixing following an Al-Jazeera documentary in May exposing corruption in global cricket in which three Sri Lankan officials were filmed agreeing to sway matches.
With inputs from AFP