World Cup 2019: Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by 34 runs in a low-scoring thriller
Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib won the toss and decided to field first. Sri Lanka openers Kusal Perera and Karunaratne got off to a flying start putting pressure on Afghanistan bowlers. The explosive Kusal Perera played with positive intent. At the end of 10 overs, Sri Lanka were 79 for 0.
After the power play overs, Nabi struck by dismissing Sri Lankan captain Karunaratne for 30. Both added 92 runs for the opening wicket in 13.1 overs. Thirmanne came to the crease and struggled for timing. On the other hand, Kusal Perera reached his fifty off 42 balls. From 144 for 1, Nabi bought Afghanistan back into the game by picking the wickets of Thirmanne, Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews in one over.
Afghanistan kept picking wickets at regular intervals and reduced Sri Lanka to 159 for 6. Kusal Perera was the only Sri Lankan to provide resistance with 78. Rain arrived when the scorecard read 182 for 8 in 33 overs. After the rain break, the match was reduced to 41 overs each. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 201 in 36.5 overs.
Chasing the revised target of 187 runs to win, Hazratullah Zazai played with positive intent putting pressure on the Sri Lankan bowlers. Lasith Malinga got the breakthrough dismissing Mohammad Shahzad for 7. Afghanistan were reduced to 43 for 2 at the end of 8 overs.
After the power play overs, Nuwan Pradeep ripped the backbone of Afghanistan batting line up, reducing them to 57 for 5. Guldbain Naib and Najibullah Zadran steadied the innings with a gritty partnership. The duo added 64 runs for the 6th wicket to give Afghanistan hope of winning the match. Nuwan Pradeep dismissed Afghanistan captain Naib for 23 runs.
Sri Lankan bowlers did not allow Afghanistan batsmen to score runs easily. Najibullah Zadran tried his best to win the match and was run out for 43. Malinga dismissed Hamid Hassan to help Sri Lanka register 34 run win via DL Method.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 201 in 36.5 overs (Kusal Perera 78, Mohammad Nabi 4/30, Rashid Khan 2/17) beat Afghanistan 152 in 32.4 overs (Nuwan Pradeep 4/31, Lasith Malinga 3/39) by 34 runs via DL Method.
Also read - Lowest total defended in world cup