Home Cricket Asia Cup 2022 Sri Lanka secure thrilling 4-wicket win over Afghanistan

Sri Lanka secure thrilling 4-wicket win over Afghanistan

Sri Lanka secure thrilling 4-wicket win over Afghanistan

An entertaining half century by Rahmanullah Gurbaz went in vain as Sri Lanka began their Super Four Asia Cup 2022 campaign with a thrilling four-wicket victory over Afghanistan at the Sharjah International Stadium.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (84 off 45) guided Afghanistan to an imposing 175/6 in 20 overs. Ibrahim Zadran also played an impactful knock (40 off 38) for Afghanistan, who would feel that they ended 20-25 runs short as they lost a number of wickets in the last few overs.

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Needing a solid start in their chase of 176, Sri Lanka openers Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis set the tone set for Sri Lanka by putting up a 62-run stand. Naveen-ul-Haq then got rid of Mendis (36 off 19) to provide Afghanistan a much-needed breakthrough. Mujeeb Ur Rahman then dismissed Pathum Nissanka (35 off 28), who was caught by Rahmanullah Gurbaz.

Later, Rashid failed to review an LBW call against Gunathilaka which subsequently showed that the Sti Lankan was out. Gunathilaka (33 off 20) was later dropped, along with Rajapaksa (31 off 14), costing the Afghans dearly. Sri Lanka stayed in the hunt despite losing wickets at regular intervals.

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The island nation needed 49 off the last five overs, before Rajapaksa smashed 4, 4, 6 against Naveen ul Haq to bring the equation down. Wanindu Hasaranga then hammered three boundaries to help them reach their target in 19.1 overs with four wickets remaining.

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. Gurbaz and Zadran put on a stand of 93 runs for the second wicket after Zazai was bowled for 13 off 16 in the 5th over. Gurbaz then got out in the 16th over, with Afghanistan at 139-2.

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However, they lost Ibrahim Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (1), and Najibullah Zadran (17) in the 17th and 18th overs respectively before Rashid Khan (9) hit a six in the last over to take Afghanistan to 175-6, a total that Mohammad Nabi later said was at least 20-25 runs short. Dilshan Madushanka took 2/37 while Maheesh Theekshana claimed 1/29.

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