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Asia Cup 2022: Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by four wickets in Super Four

Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s superb offensive performance (84 off 45) propelled Afghanistan to a difficult 175/6 in 20 overs.

SNS |

At the Sharjah International Stadium, here on Saturday, Sri Lanka put on a commanding display to defeat Afghanistan by four wickets in a Super Four match of the Asia Cup 2022.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s superb offensive performance (84 off 45) propelled Afghanistan to a difficult 175/6 in 20 overs. Along with Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran also contributed significantly to Afghanistan’s performance, scoring 40 runs off of 38 balls. Afghanistan had hoped for a strong finish, but they lost several wickets quickly in the final few overs.

Kusal Mendis (36 off 19), Pathum Nissanka (35 off 28), Danushka Gunathilaka (33 off 20), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (31 off 14), and Wanindu Hasaranga all contributed significantly with the bat as Sri Lanka prevailed admirably in the difficult total-chase.

Despite losing wickets frequently, Sri Lankan batsmen managed to chase down the mark in 19.1 overs with four wickets in hand by preventing the needed run rate from increasing too much. The wicket-takers for Afghanistan were Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2/30), Naveen-ul-Haq (2/40), Mohammad Nabi (1/34) and Rashid Khan (1/39).

When Afghanistan was given the opportunity to bat first, they got off to a strong start, scoring 49/1 on the powerplay.

Hazratullah Zazai was unable to establish any fluidity during his innings, whereas Gurbaz was in an offensive mindset and scored the most of the goals. Zazai was eventually clean bowled for 13 off 16 in the fifth over after playing across to a length delivery.

Gurbaz maintained his offensive stance even after the powerplay, scoring his fifty in 22 balls. In Zadran, he found support, and together, they kept Afghanistan’s scoreboard moving.

Gurbaz and Zadran combined for a second wicket partnership of 93 runs. Afghanistan was 139-2 when Gurbaz was dismissed in the 16th over and appeared to be in good shape for the finish.

But in the 17th and 18th overs, respectively, they lost the wickets of Ibrahim Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (1), and Najibullah Zadran (17). Afghanistan reached 175-6 in the final over thanks to a six struck by Rashid Khan (9) but it was ultimately insufficient.

The wicket-takers for Sri Lanka were Dilshan Madushanka (2/37), Maheesh Theekshana (1/29), and Asitha Fernando (1/34)

(Inputs from IANS)