Sri Lanka produced a commanding performance to beat Afghanistan by four wickets in a Super Four match of the Asia Cup 2022 at the Sharjah Interna-tional Stadium, here on Saturday.
An excellent attacking knock by Rahmanullah Gurbaz (84 off 45) powered Afghanistan to a chal-lenging 175/6 in 20 overs. Apart from Gurbaz, Ibra-him Zadran also played an impactful knock (40 off 38) for Afghanistan, who would have hoped for a blistering finish but they lost wickets in a cluster in the last few overs.
Chasing a challenging total, Kusal Mendis (36 off 19), Pathum Nissanka (35 off 28), Danushka Gunathilaka (33 off 20) Bhanuka Rajapaksa (31 off 14) and Wanindu Hasaranga made vital contributions with the bat and led Sri Lanka to a memorable win.
Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, Sri Lankan batters didn’t allow the required run rate to rise high and eventually chased the target in 19.1 overs with four wickets in hand. Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2/30), Naveen-ul-Haq (2/40), Mohammad Nabi (1/34), and Rashid Khan (1/39), were the wicket-takers for Afghanistan.
Earlier, put into bat first, Afghanistan were off to a good start, scoring 49/1 in the powerplay. While Gurbaz was in an attacking mode and did the bulk of the scoring, Hazratullah Zazai was not able to not find any fluency right through his innings. Eventu-ally, Zazai played across to a length delivery and was clean bowled for 13 off 16 in the 5th over.
Even after the powerplay, Gurbaz continued his attacking intent and completed his fifty in 22 balls. He got support in Zadran and they kept the score-board ticking for Afghanistan.—APP