Sri Lanka beats Afghanistan by four wickets in a scratchy win
22 February 2015, Nirapad News : Sri Lanka were seriously tested before beating Afghanistan by four wickets at the Cricket World Cup on Sunday.
A Mahela Jayawardene century led Sri Lanka to an unconvincing four-wicket win over Afghanistan at the Cricket World Cup on Sunday.
The veteran struck his 19th one-day international century, helping his team reach their target of 233 with 10 balls to spare in Dunedin.
Jayawardene (100), Angelo Mathews (44) and Thisara Perera (unbeaten 47) saw Sri Lanka to their win after they had slumped to 18-3.
Asghar Stanikzai (54) was Afghanistan’s top scorer as they were bowled out for 232 with two balls left in their innings.
It marked Sri Lanka’s first win in Pool A and was a crucial one after they opened with a loss to New Zealand.
Cloud cover meant Sri Lanka opted to bowl first, and Javed Ahmadi and Nawroz Mangal were prepared to dig in early.
Fielding had been a focus for Sri Lanka in the lead-up, but they put down a chance in the sixth over.
Mangal tried to drive Suranga Lakmal (2-36) but edged to second slip, where a diving Jayawardene put down a difficult chance.
But it proved not to be costly, Mangal (10) chipping a Mathews delivery to Lahiru Thirimanne at silly mid-off.
Ahmadi (24) was the next man to go, attempting to hit his fifth boundary but instead skying a pull shot to Rangana Herath off Lakmal to leave Afghanistan at 40-2.
Herath thought he had Samiullah Shenwari LBW in the 23rd over, asking for a review after the batsman was given not out.
The review showed the ball to be hitting leg stump, but the umpire’s call stood.
Stanikzai batted well for his 57-ball 54 before picking out Ajantha Mendis in the deep off Herath (1-41).
Shenwari struggled to get his innings going before departing for 38 off 70, caught at mid-off by Mathews off Thisara Perera.
Only Mirwais Ashraf (28) was a good contributor later in the innings as Afghanistan’s approach became impatient.
The total looked even better when they reduced Sri Lanka to 2-2 as Thirimanne and Tillakaratne Dilshan fell for ducks.
Kumar Sangakkara was lucky not to be run out twice before he was clean bowled by Hamid Hassan (3-37), the seaming ball causing Sri Lanka all sorts of problems.
Sri Lanka were 51-4 before Jayawardene and Mathews rescued their innings, combining for a 126-run fifth-wicket stand.
But they departed within an over of one another, putting their team under pressure once more.
Sri Lanka needed 26 off the last four overs, but Perera belted a six and a four off the first two balls of the 47th to put his team back on top.
And he proved to be the match-winner as he lifted his team late in the match to give them victory.