DUBAI — Afghanistan in a stunning performance outplayed Sri Lanka to win opening match of the Asia Cup, at Dubai International Stadium on Saturday.
Afghanistan won by 10 wickets in a match which saw sterling performances by their team. After Afghanistan chose to bowl, Left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi with a spell of three for 11 did the damage at the top before the spin duo of Mujeeb-ur Rahman with a spell of 2 for 24 and Mohammad Nabi 2 for 14 in the middle overs bundled out the Lankans on 105 runs in 19.4 overs.
Chasing the target of 106 runs, Afghanistan completed it in 10.1 overs. Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz smashed an 18-ball 40 to put the match beyond the reach of the Lankans. Fellow opener Hazratullah Zazai stuck around to finish the job.
Sri Lanka in their inning were pushed onto the backfoot in the very first over of the match, when opener Kusal Mendis and Charith Asalanka fell to left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi. For Sri Lanka Bhanuka Rajapaksa top-scored with a 29-ball 38, while Chamika Karunaratne made 31.
This was the first time Afghanistan bowled out a team without Rashid Khan taking a wicket. Nevertheless, Rashid bowled at crucial junctures to stifle Sri Lanka’s recovery.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (c), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Karim Janat, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Fazalhaq Farooqi.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis(w), Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka, Matheesha Pathirana. — (PTI)