Afghanistan’s incredible voyage in the ICC One-Day International World Cup 2023 continues with a seven-wicket triumph against 1996 champions Sri Lanka. Afghanistan’s bowlers laid the groundwork for this victory, dismissing Sri Lanka for a dismal 241 in 49.3 overs.
Three of Afghanistan’s best five batters, including Shahidi, made half-centuries proficiently throughout the chase, earning the victory in 45.2 overs and boosting Afghanistan to fifth place on the scoring ladder.
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The Rundown: Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka
Afghanistan caused another surprise in the Cricket World Cup, defeating Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Pune to record consecutive victories for the first time in the history of the tournament.
Afghanistan’s captains Hashmatullah Shahidi (58) and Azmatullah Omarzai (73) formed an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 111 to take their team to victory with four and a half overs left, cruising to 242-3.
Sri Lanka Gets Off to a Good Start, But Afghanistan Bowlers Take Control
They got off to a rough start as opening hitter Rahmanullah Gurbaz (0) was removed by Dilshan Madushanka’s fourth delivery in Sri Lanka’s first over, leaving the opposition 0-1.
Rahmat Shah (62) scored his 25th ODI half-century, and both he and Ibrahim Zadran (39) had a 72-run stand as Sri Lanka’s bowlers struggled for another breakthrough.
Before that, Sri Lanka got off to a good start, dropping only one wicket in the powerplay as Dimuth Karunaratne (15) was caught lbw by Fazalhaq Farooqi (4-34) when Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat.
However, no Sri Lankan batsman reached the half-century mark as Afghanistan’s bowlers grabbed wickets at every opportunity, leaving the Tigers 241 all out with three balls left in their last over.
Afghanistan Spinners Continue to Dominate
Afghanistan’s spinners maintained their dominance, with Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2-38) dismissing Kusal Mendis, who swiped towards midwicket but was caught by a fielder. The skipper of Sri Lanka has been disqualified for the fourth time in four games while hitting his favorite shot.
Rashid Khan (1-50), who took part in his 100th ODI, also notched up a wicket. The leg-spinner produced a ball that slipped on, smashing the top of the middle stump, causing the 25-year-old bowler to turn away in glee.
Afghanistan Wicketkeeper Alikhil Injures Finger
Sri Lanka’s captain Kusal Mendis (39) and Pathum Nissanka (46) had a 62-run third-wicket stand, but the team’s opener was dropped behind by substitute wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz, four runs short of reaching a half-century.
Afghanistan’s main wicketkeeper, Ikram Alikhil, impaired his finger in the second over when trying to take in a throw toward the stumps, but the ball nipped the point of his gloves, forcing him to leave the pitch for treatment.
Sri Lanka’s second wicket came in the 17th over, when Ibrahim Zadran (39) pulled out a bouncer into the third, and it nestled safely with Dimuth Karunaratne.
Rahmat was getting close to his half-century when a crossing seamer from Kasun Rajitha caught a leading edge to mid-on, and Karunaratne made his catch.
Player of the Game: Fazalhaq Farooqi
Fazalhaq Farooqi, a left-arm seamer, seized 4 for 34 as Afghanistan diminished Sri Lanka to a score of 241. His ODI statistics were the most impressive of his entire cricket career, whereas Afghanistan’s World Cup statistics were the second-best of all time.
Farooqi bowled with accuracy and changing pace despite not getting much help from the MCA Stadium surface, which performed steadily throughout the 50 overs.
He was named ‘Player of the Match’ because of his remarkable performance. Farooqi’s blistering speed posed problems for the Sri Lankan batters, and Afghanistan’s spinners, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, applied sufficient pressure to keep in-form hitters like Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama at range.
Afghanistan v Sri Lanka Score
|242/3(45.2 overs)||241(49.3 overs)|
|Afghanistan outlasted Sri Lanka by 7 wickets, with 28 balls remaining|
Afghanistan had to make it 111 to win, but skipper Hashmatullah and Azmatullah finished the run-chase in fashion, bringing their team to another triumph. Afghanistan presently ranks fifth in the rankings with six points, while Sri Lanka ranks sixth with four points. The top four groups proceed straight to the semi-finals.
The action is going to heat up as Sri Lanka will play against India on Thursday in Mumbai, while Afghanistan will face the Netherlands on Friday in Lucknow.
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