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Afghanistan knock Lanka out of Asia Cup

ANI  |  Abu Dhabi [UAE] 

Five-time champions Sri Lanka were knocked out of the Asia Cup after slumping to a shocking 91-run defeat at the hands of Afghanistan in the second Group B match of the tournament here at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Monday.

It was yet another one-sided game as Sri Lanka, who were chasing 250, put up a listless batting performance to become the first team to be eliminated from the tournament.

Earlier, Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat first.

Openers Mohammad Shahzad (34) and Ihsanullah (45) gave the Afghans a brilliant start as they stitched 57 runs for the first wicket, before spinner Akila Dananjaya provided the first breakthrough for Sri Lanka, scalping the wicket of Shahzad.

Right-hander Rahmat Shah (72) joined Ihsanullah and the duo milked runs and kept the scoreboard ticking for Afghanistan. The two batsmen put up a 50-run partnership before Dananjaya separated them, accounting for Ihsanullah.

Meanwhile, skipper Asghar Afghan's stay at the crease did not last long as he trapped in front by spinner Shehan Jayasuriya for cheaply one run. Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi then joined forces and frustrated the Lankan bowlers, as the duo dominated them and played some glorious shots.

However, pacer Dushmantha Chameera finally broke the 80-run partnership between the two and a cluster of wickets fell afterwards.

The middle-order batsmen, Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran did not contribute much to the score as the duo was dismissed for 15 and 12, respectively before the lower order collapsed like a pack of cards to see Afghanistan lost their way from 190 for 3 to be all out for 249. Afghanistan had lost six wickets for 59 runs in the process.

All-rounder Thisara Perera (five for 55) was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka, taking a five-wicket haul in the process, as he ripped apart Afghanistan's middle and lower orders. While Akila Dananjaya took two for 39, Dushmantha Chameera (one for 43), Shehan Jayasuriya and spearhead pacer Lasith Malinga took a wicket each.

Chasing a target of 250 runs to stay alive in the Asia Cup, teenage spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman sent back opener Kusal Mendis for nought to give Afghanistan a good start. However, Dhananjaya de Silva (23) and experienced batsman Upul Tharanga (56) came together and shared a 54-run partnership for the second wicket to steady their side's innings.

The pair was going well, when in the 13th over, there was a horrible mix-up between Tharanga and Silva for a second run, resulting in the latter being run out, amid the confusion between the Afghan fielders, who missed a good chance of run out in the first attempt.

It was then downhill for Sri Lanka as both Afghan pacers and spinners bowled straight lines to make life tough for the batsmen.

Spinning sensation Rashid Khan and Nabi, particularly, spun a web around the Sri Lankan batsmen, thus leaving no clue for Sri Lanka on how to tackle the two spinners.

Skipper Angelo Mathews (22) and the middle order once again failed to put up a good show with the bat, as they frittered away the good start the openers had given. In the end, it was a mere formality for the Afghan bowlers as Sri Lanka were bowled out under 200 for the second time, with their innings ending at 158 and crashing out of the Asia Cup.

For Afghanistan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (two for 32), Gulbadin Naib (two for 29), Rashid Khan (two for 26) and Nabi (two for 30) took two wickets each.

Shah was adjudged the 'Man of the Match' for his scintillating innings.

India will begin their Asia Cup campaign when they will lock horns with Hong Kong at the Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, September 18 2018. 03:35 IST