Sri Lanka 253/6 (Sangakkara 76, Mathews 45*)
Afghanistan 124/10 (Nabi 37, Mendis 3-11, Thisara 3-29)
Sri Lanka confirmed their position in the Asia Cup final with a comfortable and dominant 129 runs win over Afghanistan in Asia Cup 2014. They now lead the point table with three consecutive win in their name with one match in hand.
Afghans were all-out for 124, thanks to a combined bowling effort from Ajantha Mendis and Thisara Perera, who took three wickets apiece for 11 and 29 runs respectively. Afghan skipper Mohammad Nabi was the lone fighter in his team with 37 runs in his name but no other batsman could give him the support required to steer their innings.
Afghanistan lost their first wicket in the second over when Lakmal uprooted the offstump of Shahzad, and they could not build up any significant partnership that could have tested Sri Lanka. Lasith Malinga was the only Lankan bowler to finish without a success.
Sri Lanka had managed to gather a comfortable total of 253 losing 6 wickets in 50 overs after the lions were kept in a tight leash from the very beginning. Afghan bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals to restrict the Lankans within a manageable total. Kumar Sangakkara’s 76 off 102 and Mathews’ 45 off 41 helped them get past 250.
Sangakkara added 36 in second wicket with Perera and 74 in fourth wicket with Chandimal before his luck finally ran out as he departed after a terrible misunderstanding with his skipper which saw him falling short of the crease where Nabi made no mistake with an accurate throw. Sri Lanka could have been in further trouble had Afghanistan seamer Dawlat grabbed the chance Sangakkara offered in the 34th over.
de Silva(17) was caught by Mirwais Ashraf at mid wicket trying to flick one from Dawlat but failed due to some extra pace generated by the bowler.
Dinesh Chandimal was bowled after a hard fought 26 from 41 deliveries. Hamza Hotak’s tossed up delivery landed on middle stump line, spun past the outside edge and took the off stump out.
Afghan seamers were quick in action as they removed both the Lankan openers within 50 runs. Shapoor Zadran generated enough pace in his first spell to rattle the openers. He capped it off with a wicket in his fourth over which saw Thirimanne(5) cut into half and sent his middle stump cartwheeling.
Kushal Perera’s labored stay came to an end when he tried to cut a length delivery up through cover but an inside edge saw the ball clattered into stumps. He added 33 in his name before going back to the dressing room.
Mahela Jayawardene failed to perform with the bat again since he injured his finger in the test series against Bangladesh and got back for 14 rewarding Ashraf with his second wicket.
Earlier, Sri Lanka skipper Mathews decided to bat first winning the toss in a rather slow track which is supposed to get slower as the day goes by. Suranga Lakmal replaced Senanayeke who flew back home to see his new born baby. Afghanistan made two changes to their XI. Right-arm seamer Dawlat Zadran replaced Hamid Hassa, while the opener Noor Ali Zadran returned to the side in place of Karim Sadiq.