T20 World Cup 2022, SL vs AFG: Sri Lanka maul Afghanistan to keep Semifinal hopes alive
Lahiru Kumara celebrating a dismissal [Source: Associated Press]
The twentieth Super 12 fixture of the ongoing T20 World Cup witnessed Sri Lanka steamroll Afghanistan by six wickets in Brisbane. The Lankan lions moved to the third position with this clinical victory.
Batters' collective effort takes Afghanistan to 144
After they decided to bat first, Afghanistan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Usman Ghani ensured a good start, adding 42 runs for the first wicket. Lahiru Kumara drew the first blood for Sri Lanka, cleaning up the dangerous Gurbaz for a 24-ball 28.
Wanindu Hasaranga bagged three wickets [Source: Associated Press]
Ghani, who looked sublime for his run-a-ball 27, was the first victim of Wanindu Hasaranga in the eleventh over. Although Ibrahim Zadran and Najibullah counterattacked, their brief partnership was broken by Kumara, who got rid of Ibrahim for an 18-ball 22.
The veteran batters Najibullah, Gulbadin Naib and Mohammad Nabi got quick starts but couldn't capitalise on those, ensuring a sub-par finish for Afghanistan.
Hasaranga dismissed Afghanistan's spin twins Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the last over to record a spectacular three-for, while Kumara finished with impressive figures of two for 30.
Dhananjaya de Silva's fireworks seize the day for Sri Lanka
Chasing 145, Sri Lanka fumbled from the beginning, losing Pathum Nissanka to a peach of a delivery from Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Although Kusal Mendis got a good start, he couldn't convert it into a big score, falling prey to Rashid Khan for 25 in the eighth over.
Dhananjaya de Silva in action [Source: Twitter]
However, Dhananjaya de Silva decided to take on the Afghanistan bowlers single-handedly, as he stormed his way through to a glorious 66*-run knock. The elegant batter amused everyone with his nonchalant stroke-play, hammering six fours and two sixes during his 42-ball stay.
Before being dismissed, Charith Asalanka (19 off 18) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (18 off 14) supported De Silva to perfection, as Sri Lanka eventually gunned down the total with nine balls to spare.
Afghanistan: 144/8 (20)
Rahmanullah Gurbaz 28 (24), Usman Ghani 27 (27);
Wanindu Hasaranga 3/13 (4), Lahiru Kumara 2/30 (4)
Sri Lanka: 148/4 (18.3)
Dhananjaya de Silva 66* (42), Kusal Mendis 25 (27);
Mujeeb Ur Rahman 2/24 (4), Rashid Khan 2/31 (4)
Sri Lanka won by six wickets.
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