Afg v Sl Asia Cup Preview
Riding on brilliant performances from their spinners, Afghanistan, on Monday registered a comfortable 91-run win against Sri Lanka, knocking the five-time champions out of the competition. Spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman shared six wickets between them as they rattled the Sri Lankan batting order in the run-chase. Chasing a tricky target of 250, the Lankan team got bundled out for 158 in 41.1 overs. Sri Lanka needed to win the Group B match to stay in the tournament but were outwitted by the Afghans in all the three departments.
Afghanistan have had an impressive run so far in 2018, beating Zimbabwe and Ireland, apart from winning the qualifiers to book a berth in next year’s ICC World Cup. At the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, the Afghanistan cricket team made another emphatic statement.
In the past, batting has often let them down but once they closed in on 250, spin-heavy Afghanistan fancied their chances against the struggling Sri Lankans, who simply caved in and threw away their wickets. By the time their trump card Rashid Khan was introduced, Afghanistan had already taken two wickets, and the leg-spinner delivered immediately bowling out Kusal Perera, who made an unsuccessful attempt to unsettle the strike bowler.
Upul Tharanga, after having hung in there for his 64-ball 36, offered a simple catch at mid-off to leave Sri Lanka in a spot of bother at 88 for four. A lot depended on skipper Angelo Mathews (22) but he too got out while trying to force the pace.
Thisara, after a successful outing with the ball, made 28 off 36 balls. Mujeeb ur Rahman, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid and Mohammad Nabi picked up two wickets apiece for Afghanistan. This was Sri Lanka’s second straight loss in Group B, coming two days after the heavy defeat at the hands of Bangladesh.