In an exciting clash at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Afghanistan triumphed over Sri Lanka in the opening match of the three-match ODI series. Sri Lanka is hosting Afghanistan as a preparation series ahead of the much anticipated Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.
Opting to bat first, Sri Lanka posted a competitive total of 268 runs in their allotted 50 overs. Charith Asalanka top-scored with an impressive 91 runs, supported by Dhananjaya de Silva’s composed 51. Together, they forged a vital partnership of 99 runs for the fifth wicket, resurrecting the innings after a shaky start at 84/4 in the 20th over.
For Afghanistan, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Fareed Ahmad claimed two wickets each, while the other four bowlers chipped in with one wicket each.
In response, Afghanistan chased down the target with 19 balls to spare, losing just four wickets in the process. Ibrahim Zadran played a brilliant inning, scoring a fluent 98 runs off just 98 deliveries, including 11 fours and two sixes. Rahmat Shah also contributed with a valuable 55 runs, forming a crucial 146-run partnership with Zadran for the second wicket, ensuring a comfortable victory for the visitors.
Sri Lanka will have a chance to seek redemption in the second and third ODI matches scheduled for June 4th and 7th, respectively, before heading to Zimbabwe for the qualifier tournament. Prior to the main event, Sri Lanka will also engage in warm-up matches against Netherlands and USA to fine-tune their preparations.
Sri Lanka are yet to announce their squad for the main event in Zimbabwe.
Photo – ESPNcricinfo