Dubai: Mohammad Nabi-led Afghanistan outplayed Sri Lanka in all three departments of the game to register an eight-wicket victory in the opening game of the Asia Cup 2022 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Hazratullah Zazai smashed 37* while Rahmanullah Gurbaz played a knock of 40 runs. For Sri Lanka, Hazratullah Zazai bagged one wicket. Chasing 106, Afghanistan got off to a flying start as their openers Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz gathered 83 runs without losing a wicket.
The duo hammered Sri Lanka bowlers all around the ground, smashing fours and sixes. The partnership of 83 runs was broken as Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva dismissed Gurbaz after scoring 40 runs in 18 deliveries.
Ibrahim Zadran then joined the opener on the crease and played some big shots. In the 10th over of the game, Zadran was run out by the Maheesh Theekshana. He was sent back to the pavilion after scoring 5 runs in 13 balls.
Najibullah Zadran then came to bat on the crease. Najibullah took a single sun and Afghanistan made 106 runs from just 10.1 overs against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup to clinch the match by 8 wickets.
Earlier, Sri Lanka lost their top five batters within 10 overs and the team was tottering at 60/5. The top batting order of Lanka – Pathum Nissanka (3), Kusal Mendis (2) and Charith Asalanka (0) were dismissed cheaply. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Danushka Gunthilaka added 44 runs for the fourth wicket before Danushka Gunathilaka was dismissed on 17 runs.
Rajapaksa played a crucial knock and his 38 runs which came from 29 deliveries. However, he was run out by Mohammad Nabi. After Rajapaksa’s wicket, most of the middle and lower order failed to score and were sent back to the pavilion without any batter getting into double figures.
Only Chamika Karunaratne tried to dominate Afghanistan bowlers, playing a crucial knock of 31 runs to take his team’s total 100-run mark. Fazalhaq Farooqi took the last wicket to bundle out Sri Lanka for 105 in 19.4 overs on a wicket that appeared friendly for a spin attack.
Brief score: Sri Lanka 105 (Bhanuka Rajapaksa 38, Chamika Karunaratne 31; Fazalhaq Farooqi 3-11) vs Afghanistan (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 40, Hazratullah Zazai 37*; Hazratullah Zazai 1-19.)