Kusal, Pradeep and Malinga star as Lanka fight back to beat Afghanistan - GulfToday

Kusal, Pradeep and Malinga star as Lanka fight back to beat Afghanistan


Sri Lanka’s Kusal Perera in action against Afghanistan during their World Cup group stage match in Cardiff on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse

Sri Lanka rallied with the ball to beat Afghanistan by 34 runs in a World Cup match in Cardiff on Tuesday. Afghanistan bowled well to dismiss the 1996 World Cup champions for just 201.

But faced with a rain-revised target of 187 in 41 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis method, Afghanistan — bidding for just their second win in a World Cup match and first over a Test nation — slumped to 152 all out.

Nuwan Pradeep took four for 31 while veteran quick Lasith Malinga (three for 39) ended the match when a trademark yorker bowled Hamid Hassan.

Earlier, Mohammad Nabi ran through a panic-stricken Sri Lanka top order as Afghanistan bowled their struggling opponents out for 201.

Sri Lanka came out of the blocks quickly under leaden skies, reaching 144 for one before the halfway point of their innings and were on course for a morale-boosting big score against the unfancied Afghans.

But Nabi, who had earlier removed captain Dimuth Karunaratne for 30, turned the match in the Welsh capital on its head, with three wickets in five balls as Sri Lanka slumped to 146-4.

“I tried my best to turn on this pitch, loop a lot, and trying my best to bowl on the good areas,” said a delighted Nabi.

“We will try our best to achieve this total and not give away a lot of wickets to the opposition team.”

Shell-shocked Sri Lanka kept on losing wickets at regular intervals, with 35 extras the second-highest scorer.

The turning point of the match was the dramatic 22nd over. 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.

Leg-spinner Rashid Khan joined the party, having opener Kusal Perera caught behind by Shahzad for 78. Rain then intervened, forcing the players from the field, with Sri Lanka 182-8.

Agence France-Presse

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