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Thursday, September 29, 2022

AFC Asian Cup 2022 Super 4 Match 1, SL vs AFG: Who won yesterday’s Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan match?

20220925 121633
20220925 121633

Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by four wickets in the Super 4 match of the 2022 AFC Asian Cup yesterday in Sharjah. In an exciting confrontation, the Lankys chased 176 with five balls remaining.

Sri Lanka was the first to throw the ball after winning the toss and kept Afghanistan at 175 to 6 despite the departure of Rehmanullah Gurbaz with 45 balls 84. There was not much contribution from Sri Lanka in the chase. However, the manual thirties of four players and an undefeated man from Wanindu Hasaranga ensured that they crossed the line.

Afghanistan still had a chance to go the last five times. Sri Lanka needed 49 rounds with six wickets in hand. Then Bhanuka Rajapaksa hit the first three of the 16 balls from Naveen-ul-Haq for 4,4,6. It ended in an equally eventful fashion as the batter was dropped into a deep cover.

Hasaranga then crushed Farooqi for forty on 18 more as the equation was reduced to eight rounds of 12 balls. Although Rajapaksa (31 of 14) was cleared by a ball slower than Naveen-ul-Haq at the penultimate finish, he put Sri Lanka firmly in control. Shamika Karunaratne (5*) sealed the victory for the Lankans, leading a wide toss from Farooqi in the middle of the match for four.

Sri Lanka made a confident start to the chase, coming in at 57 unbeaten at the end of the powerplay. Kosal Mendes (36 of 19) made his statement of intent, slamming the last two of the six balls over Rashid Khan’s six-goal. Naveen sent off the right Mendes with a short volley, but the Sri Lanka chase was good and real.

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Pathum Nisanka contributed 35 out of 28 before being pinned behind Mujibur Rahman. Afghanistan commander Muhammad Nabi gave some hope to his team, expelling Charith Asalanka for 8 years. His dismissal left the stalking side in a sore spot at 94 for 3.

Mujib got his second goal when Najibullah Zadran made a good balance on the ropes and took a clever catch to send Dason Chanaka on his way for 10. Danushka hit Junathilaka well for 33 before Rashid threw it because he missed his sweep. There was no twist in the tale although Rajapaksa and Hasaranga secured victory for the Lankis.

Sri Lanka fights again to limit Afghanistan to 175 for 6 after stealing Rahmanullah Gurbaz at speed 84

Rehmanullah Gurbaz played a great hit.  Pic: Getty Images
Rehmanullah Gurbaz played a great hit. Pic: Getty Images

Hitting first, Afghanistan’s opening Gurbaz hit a sparkling 84th shot. However, Sri Lanka fought well towards the end to restrict the batting side to 175 for 6. Afghanistan was 138 for 1 at the end of 15 overs. But they lost five wickets to add only 37 times in the last five overs.

Gurbaz was completely dominant among Sri Lankan bowlers. He defeated Mahesh Thikshana for six straight in the third set. The second maximum was initially announced, but replays showed that the player on the border, Jonathilaka, had touched the ropes.

Even as Gurbaz walked with a hammer and tweezers at one end, Hazratullah Zazai struggled for fluency. His misery ended when he was thrown by Dilshan Madushanka for 13 out of 16 because he missed the slot. Unaffected by the dismissal, Gurbaz continued to attack and even Hasaranga swept a hard-earned six over the middle of the deep. The aggressive youngster raced to 50 in just 22 balls.

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The opening match for Afghanistan was well supported by Ibrahim Zadran, who contributed steadily 40 of 38 balls. The second wicket of 96 was broken when Gurbaz beat Acitha Fernando to the middle of the deep. Then Ibrahim took Madushanka to a short leg.

Nabi (1), Najibullah Zadran (17) and Rashid (9) all fell cheaply in search of quick rounds as Afghanistan failed to achieve the ultimate prosperity.

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Gurbaz was fantastic for Afghanistan, hitting four fours and six on 45 84 hits. With the ball, Mujib impressed 2 for 30.

For Sri Lanka, Mendes and Rajapaksa scored 30 seconds. Theekshana (1/29), Hasaranga (0/23) were economic, while Madushanka claimed two wickets.

Although he ended up on the losing side, Gorbaz was named Man of the Match for his impressive big hits.

Edited by Renin Wilbin Albert

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