Afghanistan’s dream run in the ongoing World Cup 2023 continues to roll on as they defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the 30th match at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Monday, October 30.
Chasing a mediocre total of 242 to win the match, Afghanistan were rocked early as left-arm seamer Dilshan Madushanka dismissed their star opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz for a duck in the very first over. But a 73-run stand between Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah pulled the side out of danger and ensured a safe passage of play.
Ibrahim was looking in great touch with the willow in hand, however, he fell at an individual score of 39 while executing an upper cut in the 17th over. It was Madushanka again who gave the Lankan Lions their second breakthrough of the contest.
The loss of Ibrahim’s wicket didn’t bother Rahmat much as he continued his merry way and scored his second consecutive half-century of the ongoing edition. The right-handed batter paced his innings really well and it never let the asking rate go beyond an achievable margin.
Rahmat’s dismissal left the door ajar for the Kusal Mendis-led side to make a comeback but a defiant and unbeaten 111-run partnership between skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi and allrounder Azamtullah Omarzai shut it down completely at the end.
Earlier in the contest, the toss was won by Afghanistan and they asked the 1996 World Cup winners to set a total on the board. The wicket didn’t have much in it for the bowlers and looked very placid but the Sri Lankan batters failed to make the most of the conditions.
All of their top seven batters got off to promising starts but not a single one of them managed to really kick on and put pressure on the Afghanistan bowlers. Pathum Nissanka top-scored with 46 off 60 balls, including five fours.
Left-arm seamer Fazalhaq Farooqi stood out for Afghanistan with the ball in hand. He grabbed a four-fer after dismissing Dimuth Karunaratne, Charith Asalanka, Angelo Mathews and Maheesh Theekshana. He bowled a miserly spell and conceded just 34 runs in his ten overs, thereby recording a praiseworthy economy rate of 3.40.