In the seventh game of the exciting World Cup 2019 extravaganza, Sri Lanka handed a 34-run defeat to Afghanistan at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Tuesday. In a rain-marred encounter, Sri Lanka started off really well with the bat as the two openers batted aggressively. But Afghanistan off-spinner Mohammad Nabi bowled a fabulous spell to trigger a great Sri Lankan batting collapse, which in turn restricted them to a pretty modest first innings total. In the second innings, Afghanistan never looked at ease to chase the total as they kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and eventually ended up losing the game.
Nabi’s brilliant spell sets up a crushing Sri Lankan batting collapse
After losing the toss and being asked to bat first, Sri Lanka got off to a blazing start as the two opening batsmen, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera came out in a dazzling mood. They joined hands for a blistering partnership of 92 runs for the opening wicket and Perera played the role of an aggressor in that stand as he batted in a quite aggressive fashion. Mohammad Nabi then removed Karunaratne in the 14th over to provide his team with the first breakthrough. However, this didn’t bother Perera and he kept playing his natural game at the other end, racking up a fine half-century.
He added an impressive stand of 52 runs along with Lahiru Thirimanne, but then Nabi brought a massive moment in the game as he picked up three vital wickets to orchestrate a Lankan batting collapse. They lost their next five wickets for just 15 runs and succumbed to 159 for 6. Rashid Khan then removed Kusal Perera as well for a well-made 81-ball 78 before the rain gods made an entry.
After the interruption, the Afghan bowlers wrapped up the innings pretty quickly as Sri Lanka got bowled for 201 in 36.5 overs. For Afghanistan, Nabi bowled really well to finish with four wickets to his name, while Rashid and Dawlat Zadran picked up two scalps each.
Pradeep and Malinga’s amazing bowling proves too much for Afghanistan
Due to the rain interruption, the revised target for Afghanistan was to score 187 runs in 41 overs. The two Afghan openers, Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad also started off things in a pretty aggressive fashion, smacking some crisp boundaries in the brief 34-run stand before the latter got dismissed by Lasith Malinga. The Lankan bowler duo of Nuwan Pradeep and Isuru Udana also removed the likes of Zazai and Rahmat Shah quickly. To add insult to the injury, Afghanistan got reduced to a troublesome situation at 57 for 5 as Hashmatullah Shahidi and Mohammad Nabi got out pretty soon as well.
The duo of skipper Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran then did the recovery part with an excellent partnership of 64 runs for the sixth wicket. Pradeep once again brought Sri Lanka back into the game by removing both Naib and Rashid Khan in a space of two overs. The Lankans finally grabbed game in their pocket as Zadran got run-out immediately and Malinga wrapped up the tail pretty quickly to bowl out Afghanistan for 152 runs in 32.4 overs. For Sri Lanka, Pradeep was the pick of the bowlers, picking four crucial wickets, while Malinga finished with three wickets to his name.
Sri Lanka: 201/10 in 36.5 overs (Kusal Perera-78; Mohammad Nabi 4/30)
Afghanistan: 152/10 in 32.4 overs (Najibullah Zadran-43; Nuwan Pradeep 4/31)
Result: Sri Lanka won the match by 34 runs (DLS Method).
After, 7?th Match, Afghanistan????????????????????Sri Lanka— CricPlex???? ? (@CricPlex) June 4, 2019
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