Sri Lanka bowlers produced a clinical performance to beat Afghanistan in the 7th game of ICC Cricket World Cup played at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff. Dimuth Karunaratne-led unit struggled to get going in their innings and were dismissed for 201 runs in 36.5 overs.
In reply, Afghanistan looked completely out of sorts as Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep did most of the damage with the ball. With this result, Sri Lanka have managed to open their account in the competition.
Chasing 187 runs to win, Afghanistan got off to a cautious start to their innings as Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai added 34 runs in space of five overs. Lasith Malinga dismissed Shahzad to see Afghanistan lose their first wicket.
Nuwan Pradeep dismissed Hazratullah Zazai and Hashmatullah Shahidi in quick succession to see Afghanistan reeling at 57 for 5 after 13.4 overs. Captain Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran fought hard but it wasn’t enough as Afghanistan were dismissed for 152 runs in 32.4 overs.
For Sri Lanka, medium-pacer Nuwan Pradeep claimed four wickets and conceded 31 runs from his nine overs. Lasith Malinga also picked up three wickets in his six overs. Isuru Udana and Thisara Perera picked up one wicket apiece.
Nuwan Pradeep and Kusal Mendis delivered splendid performances to help Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by 34 runs via DLS method at Cardiff.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka got off to a flying start as Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera added 92 runs in space of thirteen overs. Perera was the certainly the aggressor in the Powerplay overs and decided to take the attack to the Afghanistan bowlers.
Lahiru Thiramanne came to the crease and added 52-run partnership with Perera to see Sri Lanka placed in a strong position to post a commendable score on the board. Nabi delivered something special with the ball and dismissed Thiramanne, Kusal Mendis and Angelo Matthews in the same over to trigger a collapse for Sri Lanka.
Opening batsman Kusal Perera was the lone fighter and top scorer for Sri Lanka with a valiant 78 runs off 81 balls with the help of eight boundaries. The Islanders lost wickets at regular intervals to get bundled out for 201 runs in 36.5 overs.
For Afghanistan, off-spinner Mohammad Nabi was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets to his name. Rashid Khan and Dawlat Zadran picked up two wickets apiece against Sri Lanka.