Sri Lanka overcomes Rashid Khan threat to clinch thriller, levels series
Charith Asalanka celebrates after hitting winning runs (Source: Twitter)
Afghanistan squandered a chance to secure a rare ODI series win in Sri Lanka, after losing the third match by four wickets in a final-over thriller. Despite Rashid Khan’s dexterity with the ball, the hosts powered themselves to an exhilarating run-chase, and finished the three-match series on levelling terms.
Charith Asalanka tenders Ibrahim Zadran’s 162 in vain
While Afghanistan won the first match of the series by 60 runs in Pallekele, their next tussle at the same venue turned out to be a damp squib affair.
A confident Afghanistan unit entered the series decider and upheld their uprising reputation, at least throughout the first half of the game. They listed 313-8 off their 50 overs, with opener Ibrahim Zadran clubbing 162 of them from just 138 deliveries. The dynamic batter struck 15 boundaries and four sixes during his remarkable four-hour stay at the crease.
The Sri Lankan batters launched their run-chase with intent, preserving wickets and keeping up with the asking rate. Opening batsman Kusal Mendis scored 67 at the top while Charith Asalanka listed 83 unbeaten runs in the middle.
The cricketer formed a 65-run rapid stand with Dunith Wellalage for the seventh wicket, with the latter clubbing a 21-ball 31* in the death overs. For Afghanistan, ace spinners Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi were the only wicket-takers for the visitors, with the two sharing six wickets between them.
Afghanistan: 313-8 (50)
Ibrahim Zadran 162 (138), Najibullah Zadran 77 (76)
Kasun Rajitha 3-60, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 2-67
Sri Lanka: 314-6 (49.4)
Charith Asalanka 83* (72), Kusal Mendis 67 (61)
Rashid Khan 4-37, Mohammad Nabi 2-56
Sri Lanka won by four wickets
Also Read: All-round brilliance helps Afghanistan ease past Sri Lanka