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03-Mar-2014 15:10:00 GMT
Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur

Sri Lanka Beat Afghanistan, Qualify to Final

Dhaka: Chasing 254, Afghanistan were bundled out for a paltry 124 as Sri Lanka registered a comprehensive 129-run victory in the Asia Cup clash in Mirpur. Sri Lanka first team to qualify final.

Afghanistan seemed to lose the plot as they lost their top order cheaply after Sri Lanka posted a challenging total.

Pacer Suranga Lakmal gave Sri Lanka the first breakthrough when the breached the defences of opener Mohammad Shahzad (7) to get the better of his stumps.

Asghar Stanikzai and Noor Ali Zadran then put up a slow 45-run stand for the second wicket in an attempt to steady the Afghanistan run chase.

However, Stanikzai (27) was clean bowled by Thisara Perera just before Zadran (21) was caught by Chathuranga de Silva off the bowling of Ajantha Mendis.

Soon after, ​Nawroz Mangal (4) became ​Perera's second scalp of the match when the Afghanistan batsman was caught behind comfortably by Kumar ​Sangakkara.

Lakmal then came back into the attack to pick up his second wicket of the match by dismissing Samiullah Shenwari (6) to leave Afghanistan trailing at 73/5 after 21 overs.

After a steady 48-run sixth wicket stand, Afghanistan lost Najibullah Zadran and skipper Mohammad Nabi in quick succession.

Thisara Perera dealt sixth blow by getting Najibullah Zadran caught by Angelo Mathews. Before addition of any run on the board the new team faced another jolt as Chathuranga de Silva trapped Nabi in front of wickets.

Earlier, Sangakkara continued his impressive run of form with a fine half-century before a late flourish powered Sri Lanka to a challenging 253 for six.

Electing to bat, Sri Lanka wobbled initially as they were reduced to 83 for three in the
21st century, but recovered to 157 for four in the 37th over courtesy a 74-run stand between wicketkeeper Sangakkara (76) and Dinesh Chandimal (26).

The Afghan seamers struck back after choking the runs in the middle overs as Sri Lanka were reduced to 184 for six in the 42nd over after being 157 for three in the 37th over, thereby adding just 27 runs at the expense of four wickets in five overs.

Captain Angelo Mathews then struck a 41-ball unbeaten 45 to take Sri Lanka past 250, their lowest total in the tournament. He shared crucial 69 runs with Thisara Perera (19 not out) for the seventh wicket at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Afghanistan, who beat Bangladesh in their previous match two days ago in their best-ever result till date, used as many as eight bowlers and were initially able to restrict the Sri Lankan batsmen who have been in fine form in the tournament, having helped their side win both their earlier matches.

Sangakkara continued with his fine form in the tournament, top-scoring with a 102-ball knock, which was studded with four sixes and one six. He had scored 67 (against Pakistan) and 103 (against India) in Sri Lanka's earlier two games.

For Afghanistan, Mirwais Ashraf grabbed two wickets for 29 runs while his fellow pacers Shapoor Zadran, Dawlat Zadran and left-arm spinner Hamza Hotak took a wicket apiece.

Earlier, Sri Lanka have won the toss and opted to bat first.

Suranga Lakmal in for Sachithra Senanayake while Afghanistan have brought back Dawlat Zadran in place of Hamid Hassan. Noor Ali Zadran, who missed the last match, is also back.


Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Asghar Stanikzai, Noor Ali Zadran, Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Nabi (Capt.), Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf, Shapoor Zadran, Hamza Hotak, Dawlat Zadran

Sri Lanka MDKJ Perera, HDRL Thirimanne, KC Sangakkara (wk), DPMD Jayawardene, LD Chandimal, AD Mathews (Capt.), PC de Silva, NLTC Perera, SL Malinga, BAW Mendis, RAS Lakmal

Brief scores
Sri Lanka
253 for 6 (Sangakkara 76, Mathews 45*)
Afghanistan 124 (Mendis 3-11, Thissara Perera 3-29)
Result Sri Lanka won by 129 runs
Points: Sri Lanka 5, Afghanistan 0

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