Kaushik Kashyap ∙ Jun 2 2023, 7:00 PM | 3 Min Read

SL vs AFG, 1st ODI: Ibrahim Zadran Stars With the Bat as Afghanistan Outclass Sri Lanka

image-lielf4ysZadran scored 98 off 98 balls against SL [Twitter]

Afghanistan: 269/4 in 46.5 overs [Ibrahim Zadran- 98, Rahmat Shah- 55; Kasun Rajitha- 2/49 (10), Lahiru Kumara- 1/21 (4.3)] beat Sri Lanka: 268/10 in 50 overs [Charith Asalanka- 91, Dhananjaya de Silva- 51; Fazal Haq Farooqi- 2/58 (9), Fareed Ahmed- 2/43 (8)] by wickets.

Riding on an all-round bowling performance, followed by a dominating chase with the bat Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the first ODI of the three-match series taking place at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota. 

Asalanka's Rescue Act Helps Sri Lanka to post a Competitive Total

Afghanistan won an important toss and elected to bowl first on a wicket which seemed to have a bit of help for the seamers early on. Sri Lankan top order could not get going in the powerplay as they could only manage 44 for 2 in the first 10 overs. Dimuth Karunaratne, who was playing his first ODI since 2021, fell early to Fazalhaq Farooqi, followed by Kusal Mendis, who lost wicket while trying to increase the scoring rate.

They further went on to lose Angelo Mathews and Pathum Nissanka to find themselves 4 down with only 84 on the board. Charith Asalanka and Dhananjaya de Silva came together, trying to rebuild the innings and added 99 runs for the fifth wicket.

Silva left the field after scoring his half century but Asalanka, on the other hand, kept holding one end, stringing together small partnerships with captain Dasun Shanaka and debutant Dushan Hemantha, pushing Sri Lanka over the 250-run mark. Asalanka departed for 91 in the last over and Sri Lanka posted a formidable 268 at the end of 50 overs.

Ibrahim’s sensational 98 Leads Afghanistan to victory

image-liejubztIbrahim Zadran. PC: Twitter

Chasing 269 to win, Afghanistan got off to a slow start as they could manage only 45 in the first ten overs but lost only one wicket. They lost Gurbaz early, but Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah made sure Afghanistan does not lose any further wicket in the first 10 overs. 

Just when the pressure was rising and Sri Lanka would have liked some breakthroughs, Ibrahim started to increase the scoring rate, taking on the likes of Rajitha and Pathirana after the powerplay and completed another ODI half century under a blink of an eye. 

Captain Shanaka tried everything but the Afghanistan batters looked largely untroubled. They were further pushed behind with Lahiru Kumara leaving the field due to an injury during the 25th over.

Kasun Rajitha was given another go and this time he managed to break the 146-run partnership, removing the dangerous looking Ibrahim, who missed out a well deserved century by just two runs. Rahmat Shah, who was playing a second fiddle to Ibrahim, completed his half century but could not continue long as Pathirana got his maiden ODI scalp.

Eventually, Sri Lanka could not do any further damage and Mohammad Nabi alongside Najibullah Zadran took Afghanistan home with 19 balls remaining.