Pune, Oct 30: In the battle of two Asian teams at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Ground, here on Monday, Sri Lanka set a modest target of 242 before Afghanistan.
In the 30th match of the ICC ODI World Cup 2023, put into bat Sri Lanka were all out in 49.3 overs after piling 241 runs. Though eight Lankan batters got good starts, but none of them could score a half century.
In reply, Afghanistan were 101/2 in 22 overs, having lost both their openers.
Earlier, Lankan batters Pathum Nissanka (46), skipper Kusal Mendis (39), Sadeera Samarawickrama (36), former skipper Angelo Mathews (23), Charith Asalanka (22) and Maheesh Theekshana (29), all looked set for good scores. But Afghanistan bowlers claimed regular wickets and did not allow their Asian opponents to dominate.
Left-arm fast medium Fazalhaq Farooqi led the Afghan attack with a superb 4 per 34 show in his allotted 10 overs. Opening the bowling attack again (as in the recent times) off spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman too excelled with a 2/38 figure.
Promising Lankan opener Dimuth Karunaratne was the first to be sent back by pacer Farooqi. Karunaratne made 15 in 21 balls, with one hit to the fence. Trying to play an incoming delivery, he was hit on pad.
The LBW appeal was though turned down by the umpire initially, but Afghanistan reviewed successfully to get the first break-through in 5.2 overs, with score-card reflecting 21/1.
The other opening batter, Pathum Nissanka, after sharing a 63-run vital partnership in 12.5 overs with his skipper Kusal Mendis, finally fell to a Azmatullah Omarzai delivery.
NIssanka was caught at point by Rahmanullah Gurbaz. He played a solid innings and made 46 in 60 balls, with five hits to the fence. Unfortunately he got out and missed his 50.
Lankan skipper Kusal Mendis was dismissed next. He made 39 in 50 balls, with three boundaries. Mendis was caught by substitute Najibullah Zadran at mid wicket, off spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Lanka were soon reduced to 134/3 in 27.4 overs.
Mujjen Ur Rahman then got rid of confident and compact looking Sadeera Samarawickrama for 36 of 40 balls. Suddenly, Afghanistan appeared to have regained their control over Sri Lanka.
Dhananjaya de Silva returned back, after contributing 14 in 26 balls. He was clean bowled by leggie Rashid Khan.
Next in the queue was Charith Asalanka, who was caught by Rashid Khan after mistiming a Fazalhaq Farooqi delivery. Asalanka scored 22 in 28 balls, with two 4s.
Dushmantha Chameera (1) was run out by Ibrahim Zadran and Lankan wickets continued to tumble at regular intervals.
Seasoned Angelo Mathews and Maheesh Theekshana did try their best to consolidate the Lankan innings and accelerate the scoring rate. But they too perished before much damage, as Afghan bowlers and fielders put up a valiant combined effort.
Worth mentioning that the two Asian sides have won two matches each of their five outings so far. This match is special for Afghanistan star spinner Rashid Khan, as he is playing his 100th ODI.
Winning the toss, Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi said he has opted to field first keeping the dew factor in mind. He added that dew has played a part in the previous matches at this venue.
Speaking about the changes in playing XI, Shahidi further added that they have made one change - Fazalhaq Farooqi was roped in for Noor Ahmad.
Sri Lankan captain Kusal Mendis clarified losing the toss made not much difference to them, as they wanted to bat first anyway.
Revealing about the two changes in their line-up, Mendis informed that Dushmantha Chameera and Dimuth Karunaratne were included in the playing XI, in place of Kusal Janith Perera and Lahiru Kumara.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rahmat Shah, Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil (wicket-keeper), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqi.
Sri Lanka XI:
Kusal Mendis (captain and wicket-keeper), Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka, Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chameera.