A pathetic batting display saw Sri Lanka go down to Afghanistan by 8 wickets in the Group B curtain raiser of the 15th edition of the Asia Cup at the Dubai International Stadium on Saturday. Third ranked Sri Lanka was bowled out for 105 in 19.4 overs as Afghanistan raced to victory reaching 106 for 2 in only 10.1 overs at a whopping run rate of 10.42 per over.
After being put into bat Sri Lanka was soon in trouble losing 3 wickets for 5 runs in two overs with Kusal Mendis 2, Charith Asalanka for a duck and Pathum Nissanka 3 in that order. The innings was revived by a fourth wicket partnership of 44 off 32 balls by Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who made 38 off 29 hitting 5 boundaries and a six, and Dhanushka Gunathilaka who made 17 coming in at No. 4.
But Sri Lanka lost the next six wickets for just 25 runs including Wanindu Hasaranga for 2 and skipper Dasun Shanaka for a first ball duck making it 9 for 75 after 14 overs. But No. 8 Chamika Karunaratne took the side past hundred with a 38-ball 31 inclusive of 3 boundaries and a six adding 30 for the last wicket with debutant Dilshan Madushanka who was unbeaten on 1.
The victory for fifth ranked Afghanistan was scripted by fast bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi for Player of the Match figures of 3 for 11 as the Lankans were outdone for pace and spin. Mohammad Nabi took 2 for 14 and Majeeb Ur Rahman took 2 for 24. Afghanistan made light of the target with openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz, 40 off 18 smacking 4 sixes and 3 boundaries, and Hazralullah Zazai 37 off 28 (5×4, 1 x6) putting the side within sight of victory.
CHIEF SCORES: Sri Lanka 105 (19.4 Overs) (Bhanuka Rajapaksa 38, Chamika Karunaratne 31, Dhanushka Gunathilaka 17, Fazalhaq Farooqi 3/11, Mohammad Nabi 2/14, Majeeb Ur Rahman 2/24) Afghanistan 106/2 (10.1 Overs) (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 40, Hazralullah Zazai 37, Ibrahim Zadran 15, Najibullah Zadran n.o. 2)