While this defeat knocked Afghanistan out of the tournament, a clinical performance by Sri Lanka kept the Asia Cup champion in the hunt for a spot in the semifinals.
It rained constantly in Brisbane on Tuesday morning, but by the time the Afghanistan and Sri Lanka players reached the Gabba for their must- palm T20 World Cup institution, the skies cleared up.
And over the coming three and a half hours, as the sun played hide and seek, the Sri Lankan players dominated the game, defeating Afghanistan by six lattices to stay on course for a semifinal situation.
On a used pitched the same bone that saw Australia beating Ireland last night- Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi won the toss and decided to club, a decision that didn’t relatively go as per plan. A niggardly Lankan bowling line- over defined Afghanistan to 144 for eight, before the batters rode on Dhananjaya de Silva’s unbeaten 66 to chase down the target with nine balls to spare.
On a face that looked a bit slow and backed the baits originally, Afghanistan’s innings saw a lot of thresholds from its top- order batters but none of them could cross 30. After a solitary run in the opening over of Kasun Rajitha, Rahmanullah Gurbaz- the top- arranger of the Afghan innings with 28 off 24( 2×4, 2×6)- laid a strong foundation with a 42- run opening cooperation with Usman Ghani.
A quality batter with lots of T20 experience, Gurbaz took time to settle in but ultimately accelerated with a couple of sixes and fours. After finishing the PowerPlay at 42 for no loss, Afghanistan tried to attack but a good- length delivery by Lahiru Kumara in the veritably first delivery after the PowerPlay rattled Gurbaz’s wholes.
While Kumara brought Sri Lanka back into the game, wrist- incentive Wanindu Hasaranga( three for 13) put his side in the motorist’s seat.
After Gurbaz’s exit, Ghani went on to score a run-a-ball 27 before piercing out to Hasaranga as the runs dried up in the middle- overs and Afghanistan went without scoring a boundary for seven overs. With none of the middle- order batters stepping up, Hasaranga claimed a brace in the final over, which only went for three runs, as the Afghans failed to capitalise on a steady launch.
Afghanistan looked up to its star incentive Mujeeb Ur Rahman for an early advance. Mujeeb, who’s familiar with the pitch at the Gabba due to his Big Bash League( BBL) stint with Brisbane Heat, gutted up Pathum Nissanka off the last ball of his first over. Having lost its first gate for 12, Sri Lanka looked conservative but Dhananjaya( 66n.o., 42b, 6×4, 2×6) stood establishment- forging hookups with Kusal Mendis and Charith Asalanka to bring its chase back on track.
As Dhananjaya cruised along, Afghanistan, despite having Mujeeb and Rashid Khan in its species, claimed just two lattices in the first 10 overs. By the time Rashid dismissed Asalanka and Mujeeb removed Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka was just four runs down from palm. Dhananjaya sealed the match with a four off Fazalhaq Farooqi.
Towards the end of the game, Rashid sounded to have twisted his knee while trying to stop a boundary. He limped out of the field, with the physio and teammates accompanying him.
While this defeat knocked Afghanistan out of the event, a clinical performance by Sri Lanka kept the Asia Cup champion in the quest for a spot in the semifinals. Read More Cricket News….
Sri Lanka Playing XI: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Pramod Madushan, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha.
Afghanistan Playing XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Usman Ghani, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (c), Gulbadin Naib, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fareed Ahmad Malik, Fazalhaq Farooqi.