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June 3, 2023
Ibrahim Zadran 98 puts Lankans to the sword in Afghanistan’s stroll in the park 6-wkt. triumph

Sri Lanka Cricket


By Srian Obeyesekere
Ibrahim Zadran, still in his youth at just 21 returned to haunt Sri Lanka stroking a run a ball 98 powered by 11 boundaries and  2 sixes in Afghanistan’s emphatic 6-wicket stroll in the park domination in making light of the host team’s 269 target to go 1-up in the 3-match ODI series at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium on Friday. A discovery from the U 19s, Zadran batted out such a workmanlike innings belying his age in taking control with Afghanistan on 25 for the loss of 1 wicket in unleashing a 141-run second wicket partnership off off 146 balls with 29-year old Rahmat Shah 55 off 80 tucked with just the 3 boundaries. It was to negate Sri Lanka’s fifth-wicket partnership of 99 off 112 balls by Charith Asalanka, who cracked 91 off 99 inclusive of 12 boundaries, and Dhananjaya de Silva 51 off 59 containing 5 boundaries. Afghanistan’s final score of 269 for 4 off 46.5 overs overhauling the hosts 268 was indeed a high class clinical performance outclassing the former world champions in an ominous shifting of the scales of a now power house in the business in shedding the minnows tag.
Sri Lanka’s tactical change in recalling former captains Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews from years in the wilderness did not pay off with the former falling for 4 and the latter for 12
 as they slumped to 84 for 4 in 19.2 overs after being put into bat, before Charith Asalanka came to the fore taking strike at No.5 in a rescue act that found fruition in alliance with Dhananjaya de Silva. Following the dismissal of de Silva who was bowled by Mohammad Nabi, skipper Dasun Shanaka joined Asalanka in taking Sri Lanka past 200. The Lankan skipper fell with the score 215 by the 43rd over having made a run a ball 17 inclusive of a boundary. Asalanka went found an able ally in debutant Dushan Hemantha, who though failing to take a wicket on debut, did stroke a plucky 22 off 20 hitting a six and a boundary in adding 48 for the seventh wicket off 35. Asalanka was run out off the first delivery of the 49th over as Lahiru Kumara, on strike, tried to cross over for a quick bye with the former hardly in the picture as the wicket-keeper dislodged the bails.
Ibrahim Zadran’s had once again stolen the show for Afghanistan in a brilliant Player of the Match award gung ho.
Sri Lanka 268 (50 Overs)
(Charith Asalanka 91, Dhananjaya de Silva 55. Pathum Nissanka 38, Dushan Hemantha 22, Dasun Shanaka 17, Angelo Mathews 12, Kusal Mendis 11, Fareed Ahmed 2/43, Faxalhaq Farooki 2/58, Mohammad Nabi 1/31, Azmatullah Omarzai 1/35, Majeeb Ur Rahman 1/45, Noor Ahmad 1/54)
Afghanistan 269/4 (46.5 Overs)
(Ibrahim Zadran 98, Rahmat Shah 55, Hashmatullah Shahidi 38, Mohammad Nabi n.o. 27, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 14, Rajibullah Zadran n.o. 7, Kasun Rajitha 2/49, Lahiru Kumara 1/21, Matheesha Pathirana 1/66

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