Afganistan give Sri Lanka a lesson on pressure and superior strategy. Lankans choked in seven – wicket defeat. – By TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE.  (eLanka Sports editor)

Afganistan give Sri Lanka a lesson on pressure and superior strategy. Lankans choked in seven – wicket defeat. – By TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE.  (eLanka Sports editor)

Trevine Rodrigo | elankaAfganistan continues to astound the cricketing world claiming another big scalp in Sri Lanka with a convincing 7- wicket victory in Pune.

With wins over defending champions England and Pakistan, Afganistan has catapulted themselves into contention for a semi- final berth in the World Cup  which will be an astonishing achievement. 

All credit must go to the underrated Afgans who have stormed their way into recognition and have certainly earned the respect of all opposition. 

For a country with no real structure, the raw talent emerging from Afganistan proves that determination and natural ability can overcome the regimental training and advanced techniques utilised by the more affluent nations. 

They have been on the rise over the last decade producing world class players such as Rashid Khan and Mohamed Nabi who have wowed fans around the world including in the Big Bash in Australia. 

A semi final will boost the country’s image in no uncertain terms and will add another top rung team that will take some beating. It will also encourage more young players in Afganistan to strive to make it to the national team and take advantage of the benefits that await, if they can make it to the big time.
The win over Sri Lanka was a well measured strategy that choked and frustrated the Sri Lanka batters and finally bowled them out for just 241 in 49.3 overs.

Sri Lanka have themselves to blame for an overcautious batting approach which lacked required aggression at certain stages, and paid the price of not being able extricate themselves and set the Afgans a difficult target.

Apart from opener Pathum Nissanka 46 from 60 balls, Skipper Kusal Mendis 39 from 50 balls and Sadeera Samarawickrema 36 from 40 balls, none of the Sri Lankan batters were able to convert reasonable starts into match winning scores. They were trapped in a web of tight bowling and the pressure applied soon saw them cave in to desperate shots that was snapped up by Afganistan fielders.

Sri Lanka desperately needed a win to boost their chances of a semi final berth. But the loss almost certainly signalled the end of another disappointing campaign. 

What looms ahead is India, Bangladesh and New Zealand which appears like  bridge too far judging by their recent efforts. Their win over England is the only game they can hang their hat on.

Fazalhaq Farookqi was lethal with his control and pace grabbing 4 for 34 off 10 overs and Mujeeb Ur Rahman 2 for 38 were economical in their demolition of Sri Lanka’s batting. 

Sri Lanka’s hopes were raised when Dilshan Madushanka removed Ramanullah Gurbaz in his fourth delivery with the total on 0.

This was to be their last real hope as Rahmat Shah 62 off 74 balls,  Skipper Hasmatullah Shahidi 58 off 74 and Azmatullah Omarzai 73 off 63 saw the home with 28 balls to spare and a handsome 7 wicket victory. Afganistan reached their target of 242 in 45.2 overs.

Their confidence is building to a worrying level to the top rungers,  mainly due to the unpredictability of what they can produce on any given day.

Comments are closed.