Sri Lanka pulled off a hard-fought 34-run victory over Afghanistan on the Duckworth and Lewis scoring method in their ICC Cricket World Cup seventh match played at Cardiff, Wales yesterday.
Afghanistan chasing a revised victory target of 187 runs were bowled out for 152 in 32.4 overs despite having made a promising start to their run-chase.
Afghanistan suffered a mini collapse before Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran revived their hopes with a sixth wicket stand of 64 runs.
However, Sri Lanka struck back while claiming wickets at regular intervals through Nuwan Pradeep and Lasith Malinga.
Earlier, Sri Lanka collapsed to 201 all out as Afghanistan grabbed nine wickets for 57 runs in a dramatic game.
Sri Lanka made a promising start but fell apart in the middle order due to the wily spin of Mohammed Nabi and the seam bowling of Mohammad Shahzad.
After some good work by their openers, Sri Lanka made it to 144 for one before Nabi turned the match on its head with a brilliant spell of spin bowling in the 22nd over by grabbing three wickets in the space of five deliveries.
Nabi bowled Lahiru Thirimanne for 25 before having Kusal Mendis caught by Rahmat Shah in the slips for two runs.
Angelo Mathews was next to go, for a duck, also caught by Shah.
Fast bowler Hamid Hassan then had Dhananjaya de Silva caught behind for nought by Mohammad Shahzad to leave Sri Lanka in deep trouble.
Thisara Perera was run out for two before Isuru Udana was bowled by Dawlat Zadran for 10 as Sri Lanka slid steadily to 182 for eight before play was paused due to rain.
Some big hits by the tailenders carried Sri Lanka over the 200 run mark after play resumed in a reduced 41 overs per side match.
Wicket-keeper-batsman Kusal Perera top scored with 78 runs off 81 balls which included eight boundaries.
But he ran out of partners at the other end and holed out in desperation. (Agencies)
SL records best powerplay show
After losing the World Cup opener to New Zealand by 10 wickets, Sri Lanka had to go out of its skin to make a statement against Afghanistan at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff yesterday.
The islanders attacked the Afghanistan bowlers to register the best first powerplay performance of the tournament — 79 for no loss.
New Zealand’s 77 against Sri Lanka in the last game and West Indies’ 71 against Pakistan in Nottingham are the next best performances of first powerplay in the list.
West Indies’ 119 for one against Canada in World Cup 2003 is the best powerplay show in the history of the tournament.
New Zealand’s 116 for two against England in 2015 is the second in the list. (Agencies)