Cricket Batter | Cricket Today

Group B of the Asia Cup concluded in dramatic fashion in Lahore on Tuesday as Afghanistan missed out of qualification for the super fours by the narrowest of margins. Afghanistan knew beforehand that to qualify on net run rate they needed more than just to win but by a healthy margin as well and they came so close to pulling that off. 

Sri Lanka Start Off Well

For the Sri Lanka national cricket team, a win for the defending champions would guarantee progression and even anything but a heavy defeat would be enough. With this in mind they won the toss and elected to bat. Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne started well adding 63 for the first wicket in just over ten overs. This brough Kusal Mendis the crease who played Sri Lanka’s most significant hand making 92 from 84 balls, when he was run out in the 40th over they would have had had sights on scoring well over 300 but in truth they couldn’t quite accelerate in the latter overs finishing 291 for 8 despite a late partnership between Dunith Wellalage and Maheesh Theekshana.

Afghanistan Forced To Chase

The equation for Afghanistan due to their costly and heavy defeat to the Bangladesh national cricket team was that they needed to chase down the score in just 37.1 overs. Sri Lanka seemed to have things in relative control for much of the chase and at 121 for 4 in the 19th over their passage looked pretty safe then enter Mohammad Nabi. The veteran all rounder turned the situation on its head and gave the Afghans hope scoring a thrilling 65 off just 32 deliveries when he was out less than 8 overs after walking to the crease the equation had gone from an unlikely 171 off 110 balls, to gettable 91 for 64. His blistering attack saw Sri Lankan bowlers disappear to all parts of Gaddafi Stadium as he hit six fours and five sixes.

Inspiring Performances Edge Afghanistan Closer To Victory

Inspired by Nabi’s game changing knock the other Afghanistan national cricket team batters started to find the boundary and keep them within touching distance of the rate. With 15 needed off five balls to qualify Rashid Khan thrillingly hit three of the last four balls of the 37th for four to leave them needing 3 off the first ball of the 38th over to pull off a stunning heist. But the mathematics of the situation were evolving slightly, two off this ball would have given them slightly more time to complete victory. Mujeeb Ur Rehman went for glory and was caught at long on.

Afghanistan Narrowly Miss Out

But in fact hope wasn’t gone, if Afghanistan had managed to hit a six, or score six before 37.5 overs to finish on 295 they would have still qualified. They still had four deliveries to do this. Whether this was communicated or in fact known to their players is unclear but Farooqui the number 11 blocked back two balls before being trapped LBW playing another defensive stroke. Rashid Khan cut a dejected figure at the non striker’s end as it was heartbreak for Afghanistan and huge relief for Sri Lanka who progressed with a two run victory. 

Final Result

Sri Lanka 291 for 8 (Mendis 92, Nissanka 41, Naib 4 for 60) beat Afghanistan 289 (Nabi 65, Shahidi 59, Rajitha 4 for 79) by 2 runs.