JUNE 4, 2019
Brief Scorecard: Sri Lanka 201 (Kusal Perera 78, Nabi 4-30) beat Afghanistan 152 (Najibullah 43, Pradeep 4-31, Malinga 3-39) by 34 runs (via DLS method)
CARDIFF, ENGLAND – Sri Lanka survived a major scare at the hands of a spirited Afghanistan team in their 2nd match of the World Cup 2019 as they beat their Asian neighbours by 34 runs via DLS method to pocket 2 crucial points. After being put in to bat on a lively Cardiff track with rain looming, Sri Lanka folded for 201 in 36.5 overs, thanks largely to Mohammad Nabi’s 4/30 including 3 wickets in one ove
Afghanistan were set a target of 187 off 41 overs as consistent showers forced a reduction in the number of overs. The Blue Brigade found the going even more difficult, losing wickets at regular intervals, while finally folding for 152.
Earlier, Sri Lankan openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera provided a flying start to the innings posting a 92 run stand in just 13 overs. But just when it looked like Sri Lanka were set for a huge total, Karunaratne (30) miscued a lofted drive off Mohammad Nabi straight into the hands of Najibullah Zadran stationed at long-on.
Lahiru Thirimanne who joined a rampaging Perera at the other end managed to stitch a 52-run partnership before Nabi came on to bowl his 5th over. Within a space of six balls, Nabi’s arm-balls took care of Thirimanne (25), Kusal Mendis (2) and Angelo Mathews (0), turning the tide Afghanistan’s way.
Nabi’s over triggered a procession of sorts with only bowlers Isuru Udana (10) and Suranga Lakmal (15) managing to post double-digit scores. At the other end, Kusal Perera seemed like he was batting on a different pitch altogether as he kept cutting and driving on the up to the slightest of errors committed by the Afghan bowlers. Having scored an 81-ball-78, the left-hander perished to Rashid Khan (2/17) while trying to finish off on a high as he kept running out of partners.
In reply, Afghanistan were in early trouble as opener Mohammad Shahzad (7) was sent back by Lasith Malinga in the 5th over of the chase. Nuwan Pradeep who returned with the figures of 4/31 of his 9 overs, soon took care of the big-hitting Hazratullah Zazai (30) as Thisara Perera dived to complete a stunning catch at long-leg. Pradeep later removed Hashmatullah Shahidi (4), Gulbadin Naib (23) and Rashid Khan (2) to bring Sri Lanka into the match.
He was ably supported by Thisara, who bowled Afghanistan’s bowling hero Mohammad Nabi, just when he was looking set, and Malinga who finished with 3/39, proving he was still a force to reckon with at World Cup 2019. In the process, Malinga also surpassed Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath to become the 5th highest wicket-taker in World Cup history with 46 wickets to his name.
Courtesy/Source: India Today