Afghanistan got off to a good start with the ball as Farooqi trapped Dimuth Karunaratne lbw for 15. The fielding side took a brilliant review to overturn the original decision to not out. Pathum Nissanka (46) and Kusal Mendis (39) added 62 runs for the second wicket as Sri Lanka build a solid foundation. However, they lost their way after the partnership was broken.
Nissanka fell four short of his fifth consecutive half-century, caught behind after poking at a delivery from Azmatullah that had a hint of extra bounce. Skipper Mendis also could not convert his start, top-edging a slog sweep off Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2/38) to deep midwicket. From 84/1, Sri Lanka had slipped to 134/3.
Getting in and getting out was a feature of Sri Lanka’s batting on the day that hurt them severely in the end. Sadeera Samarawickrama scored 36 before being trapped leg before by Mujeeb. Charith Asalanka (22), Dhananjaya de Silva (14) and Angelo Mathews (23) all got into double figures, but the big knock was missing.
Chasing 242, Afghanistan got off to a poor start as Dilshan Madushanka knocked over Rahmanullah Gurbaz (0) with an inswinger. However, that was about it as far as celebrations were concerned for Sri Lanka. Ibrahim Zadran (39) and Rahmat added 73 for the second wicket. After the former perished to a short ball from Madushanka, Rahmat and skipper Hashmatullah added 58 for the third wicket.
Rahmat’s fine knock ended when he chipped a catch to mid-on off Rajitha’s bowling. However, Shahidi and Omarzai shut the door on Sri Lanka with contrasting knocks in an unbeaten fourth-wicket stand of 111. While the Afghanistan captain anchored the innings, and Omarzai played the aggressor. His emphatic knock featured six fours and three sixes as Afghanistan raced home to another memorable win.
--By A Cricket Correspondent