Afghanistan made superb all round performance to beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets with 28 balls to spare in their world cup cricket fixture played at Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune yesterday.
It was a very poor show by Sri Lankan team as they couldn’t put up any challenge against Afganistan to continue their winning mentality while Afghan team dominated the game from the beginning to outclass Sri Lanka. Afghan team chasing a target of 242 reached it more comfortably with seven wickets in hand in the 46 over.
Rahmat Shah (62), Skipper Hasthamullah Shahidi (58 not out) and Azmatullah Omarzai 73 in 63 balls with 6 fours and 3 sixes guided Afghans to get their easy win while Dilshan Madushanka was the only successful bowler with 2 for 48. Dushmantha Chameera finished wickets-less giving away 51 runs in his 9.2-over spell.
The paceman Fazalhaq Farooqi who took 4 for 34 was named Man of the Match.
In fact with this Afghan victory they moved to fifth place of the points table with six points and Sri Lanka is at number sixth position with four points very unlikely to enter semi finals and they will move to Mumbai for big game against India on November 2.
It was a very good bowling attack by Afghan bowlers while Sri Lanka invited to bat first at one stage were 134 for three wickets but once again middle order collapsed at this Pune wicket.
Sri Lanka openers Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne who replaced for out of form Kusal Janith Perera couldn’t make good start as Karunaratne the experienced batter played his first world cup game in this series couldn’t stay long and LBW to Farooqi in the sixth over. Karunaratne scored 15 in 21 balls with a four while Nissanka the inform opener joined with skipper Kusal Mendis and the pair repaired the innings adding 62 runs stand. Nissanka who stroked an elegant innings scoring 46 in 60 balls with 5 fours unfortunately missed his consecutive fifth fifty in this series and paceman Azmatullah Omarzai took this prized wicket in the 19 over and Sri Lanka were 84 for 2 wickets at that stage.
Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama the two centurions of this series tried to build up the innings. Mendis who started with slow innings was back to the pavilion scoring 39 in 50 balls with 3 fours and Samarawickrama also LBW scoring 36 in 40 balls with 3 fours. Spinner Mujeeb Ur Rehman took back-to -back wickets and that was the touring point of the Sri Lanka innings. Sri Lanka were 139 for 4 wickets in 29.1 overs.
Charith Asalanka 22 in 28 balls with 2 fours and all rounder Dhananjaya de Silva 14 in 26 balls with a boundary and these two early middle order wickets put much pressure on Sri Lanka team.
The experienced Angelo Mathews came to the middle as number 7 better had to play very responsible innings while he had to handle big pressure as no good partner in the other side. However Maheesh Theekshana made quick innings of 29 in 31 balls with 3 fours and a six while Mathews who scored valuable 23 in 26 balls with a four and a six finally attempted to make a six and Mohammed Nabi took a well judged catch at long on off the bowling of Farooqi. Left arm paceman Farooqi completed his ODI best figures of 4 for 34 in his ten over spell with a maiden over while off spinner Mujeeb Ur Rehman who open the attack played a good supporting role to finish 2 for 38 in his 10 over spell.
Two unnecessary run outs by Dushmantha Chameera who recalled for Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha caused Lankans more pressure yesterday while non of the Sri Lanka batters were completed half century on this Pune wicket and Afghan bowlers were well controlled the game.
Sri Lanka made two changes yesterday. Opener Dimuth Karunaratne and paceman Dushmantha Chameera replaced for Kusal Janith Perera and injured Lahiru Kumara. Afghanistan wrist spinner Noor Ahmed was dropped and they packed with more pacemen and two key spinners Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rehman were got chance once again at this vital game.
Today (31) Bangladesh will meet Pakistan in their world cup game at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.