Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka – Highlights & Summary
After losing to Bangladesh in their 1st Asia Cup 2018 group stage match, Sri Lanka played Afghanistan in this do or die match at Abu Dhabi. Sri Lankan batting had struggled against Bangladesh and their fielding wasn’t top class either.
Afghanistan had recently become a Test playing nation after playing a Test match against India and didn’t have to play the Qualifier to secure a spot in the Asia Cup 2018. In our Asia Cup 2018 predictions you can find analysis for each match of the Asia Cup.
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first.
Afghanistan openers gave their team a good start, especially Mohammad Shahzad who although played in an unorthodox style, scored quick runs for the team and build a 57-runs partnership with Ihsanullah.
The two openers laid a solid foundation for the middle order batsmen to build the innings on. Mohammad Shahzad score 34 runs with 4 focus and 1 six before getting lbw out trying to reverse sweep a delivery by A Dananjaya.
Afghanistan batsmen were keen on building partnerships in their innings. After the 1st wicket fell in the 12th over for 57 runs, Ihsanullah and Rahmat Shah went on to put together 50 runs for the 2nd wicket. A Danajaya broke the partnership dismissing Ihsanullah in the 25th over lbw out. Ihsanullah scored 45 runs off 65 balls with 6 fours and was part of two 50-runs partnerships.
Shehan Jayasuriya dismissed the Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan in the next over and brought Sri Lanka back into the game with Afghanistan now 110-3 in the 26th over. The fall of this wicket didn’t seem to deter Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi, as the two stabilised the Afghanistan innings adding another 80 runs together for the 4th wicket. This was the 3rd 50+ runs partnership at the top order for Afghanistan.
Performance of the Match
Rahmat Shah scored his half century with 5 fours in his innings. He was dismissed for 72 runs in 90 balls in the 42nd over. He stayed at the crease for quite a long time as he came in to bat at number 3 in the 12th over and was out in the 42nd over of the innings.
A steady innings from Hashmatullah Shahidi contributing 37 runs off 52 balls to the Afghanistan total was a crucial one.
Afghanistan vs Lasith Malinga
One of the key highlights of the Afghanistan batting was that they didn’t lose any wicket to Lasith Malinga at the top order. Malinga went for 66 runs in his 10 overs picking just 1 wicket in his 9th over. When Malinga came to bowl his last over, he went for 13 runs as Rashid Khan hit Malinga for 2 fours and scored 11 runs off 4 balls.
Rashid Khan’s quick 13 off 6 balls with Aftab Alam’s 7 off 2 balls with 1 six helped Afghanistan finish 249 for 10 in 50 overs.
Thisara Perera – Fifer
Thisara Perera picked a 5-wicket haul. He picked 5 for 55 in 9 overs and yet Afghanistan managed to put 249 runs on the board. It was mainly because Perera didn’t dismiss the Afghanistan top order and his wickets came in the death overs. Credit should be given to Perera for he put the brakes in the Afghanistan’s innings that looked good strong enough to cross 260 runs.
A target of 250 in 50 overs was a big ask for Sri Lanka given their recent form and the fact that only 3 out of 13 times a team had successfully chased a target of 250 or more at the ground.
Sri Lanka innings
Sri Lanka lost their 1st wicket on the 2nd ball of the 1st over. That was not the start they were looking for. Mujeeb Ur Rahman gave his team a crucial breakthrough right at the start of the innings dismissing Kusal Mendis for 0 and Sri Lanka looked in trouble at 0-1.
Partnership – The only 50-runs partnership
Upul Tharanga and Dhananjaya de Silva played steadily and build a 54-runs partnership for the 2nd wicket. Though the two batted well individually, the communication while running between the wickets was a tragedy for Sri Lankan batsmen.
The partnership that was looking good and taking the Sri Lanka innings to a good position ended by a bizarre run out. Dhanajaya de Silva was out for 23.
Rashid Khan – A Twist in Tale
As the Sri Lankan innings was slowly and steadily getting back on track, the Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan brought Rashid Khan into the attack in the 20th over when Sri Lanka were 83-2 and needed 167 runs from 31 overs.
On the 5th delivery of his 1st over, Rashid Khan got Kusal Perera out bowled. It was full delivery and Perera tried to sweep it, playing across the line gets bowled.
Kusal Perera was the only batsman scoring at a strike rate of 100 and was out for 17 runs off 17 balls with 2 fours.
Gulbadin Naib bowled the next over, the 21st and gave Afghanistan a big wicket when Tharanga tried to lift a length ball that was on the middle and off and was caught at mid-off by Asghar Afghan. Tharanga departed for 36 and Sri Lanka were 88-4 and in a lot of trouble.
Sri Lanka – Run out woes
If one run out wasn’t enough for the Sri Lankan batting to get their lesson, another followed when Mujeeb Ur Rahman was brought back into the attack in the 28th over.
Miscommunication between the two batsmen and a strong throw by Rashid Khan to the bowler’s end, got Shehan Jayasuriya run out for 14.
Angelo Mathews – Throwing away his wicket
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews, and Thisara Perera are the two match winning batsmen in the Sri Lankan side and as they put together 35 runs for the 6th wicket, Sri Lanka were still in the race.
The last ball of the 35th over bowled by Mohammad Nabi saw Angelo Mathews trying to hit the ball over the long off boundary, but didn’t get the distance and was caught safely by Rashid Khan. Mathews was out for 22 and Sri Lanka were 143-6.
This was a big moment for Afghanistan and their spinners chipped in at the right time getting the right wickets to hinder Sri Lanka’s chase.
Sri Lanka – Collapse
Shanaka was bowled for a duck by Mujeeb ur Rahman in the next over. It followed by another wicket in the next over, a Thisara Perera was bowled by Gualbdin Naib.
Sri Lanka lost 4 wickets in just 15 runs and form 143-6, they were 158 all out in 41.2 overs. Malinga was the last man to get out, dismissed by Rashid Khan lbw.
Afghanistan won the match by 91 runs and are through to the Super Four stage of Asia Cup 2018. Rahmat Shah was awarded Man of the Match.
Sri Lanka have lost 2 of the 2 ODIs in the Group Stage and are out of the Asia Cup 2018.
Afghanistan will next play Bangladesh on 20th September in the 6th ODI of Asia Cup 2018. They can use this opportunity to boost their confidence and test their strategies as there are still many places where Afghanistan needs to work on.