Asia Cup, 2023 |Match 6 |9/5/2023 Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Right then, that is it from this absolute cliffhanger of a game where the Lankans somehow got the win and made it to the next stage while Afghanistan is out of the Asia Cup 2023 now. It is time for the Super-4 now where in the first match Pakistan will take on Bangladesh on 5th September, Wednesday at 3 pm IST (9.30 am GMT), but as you know you can join us early for all the build-up. Until then, cheers and goodbye!
Kusal Mendis is the Player of the Match. He says that he is a bit disappointed that he couldn't reach his hundred. He says that it was a great moment and their bowlers did very well as the pitch was very difficult to bowl on. He adds that Dunith Wellalage and Matheesha Pathirana bowled really well. Ends by saying they are happy to qualify.
Dasun Shanaka, the victorious captain of Sri Lanka says that it was a tough one and it was really hard to defend this total with four fielders outside the inner ring. He says that his and Dhananjaya de Silva's wickets were important but credits Maheesh Theekshana and Dunith Wellalage for taking them to 391. Mentions that the early wickets helped them but Mohammad Nabi took the game away from them. However, in the end, they got over the line and that is the most important thing for them.
Hashmatullah Shahidi the skipper of Afghanistan says that he is very disappointed about it. He says that he is proud of his team and they gave their best. He says that they are playing good cricket in the ODI format now and they played up to the mark in this game as well. He says that they had a lot of positives to carry forward from today and ends by saying they feel sorry that they couldn't qualify.
Earlier in the game, after electing to bat first, Sri Lanka despite losing their way a bit in the middle posted a good total on the board courtesy of a fine 92 from Kusal Mendis and good contributions from a few other batters as well. Gulbadin Naib was the best bowler for Afghanistan with a four-wicket haul while Rashid Khan picked up a couple of wickets and Mujeeb Ur Rahman chipped in with one as well. They gave their all while chasing it but faced a heartbreaking defeat in the end.
Credit goes to the Lankans, as they kept their nerve till the very end. Kasun Rajitha picked up a four-fer, but his over, which went for 12 runs at the very end, was a nail-biter. Dunith Wellalage picked up two crucial wickets when the Lankans really needed them. Matheesha Pathirana and Maheesh Theekshana picked up one wicket each and were the most economical of all, and in the end, Dhananjaya de Silva stepped up at the very end and picked up two tailenders when his team needed him the most and they snatched the win in the end.
Afghanistan were so close, yet so far! They were off to a shaky start and lost some quick wickets at the start. Hashmatullah Shahidi and Rahmat Shah steadied things with a good partnership but the game started to change when Mohammad Nabi joined the skipper at the crease. He smashed the fastest fifty by an Afghan player in ODIs and shifted the momentum towards them. However, he departed on 65 but Shahidi continued to make the runs. Karim Janat and Najibullah Zadran played important cameos to take them close and it was in their hands till the very last moment. They needed 16 runs of 7 balls and Rashid Khan hit three boundaries to get them nearer to qualification but in the end, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Fazalhaq Farooqi miscalculated a bit as they still had a chance to qualify after the 37.1 over mark, but ultimately they lost by 2 runs and bow out of the Asia Cup.
SRI LANKA HAVE DONE IT! It was an absolute cracker of a game, and it is the defending champions who have made it to the top four. Disappointment for the Afghans as they fought till the very end but just failed to get over the line. They were certainly unaware of the fact that they still had a chance of qualifying if they would have hit a six at the last ball.
Dhananjaya de Silva to Fazalhaq Farooqi, OUT! LBW! THAT IS IT! DDS HAS DONE IT! This is tossed up, full and on middle, turns away a bit, Fazalhaq Farooqi stays back to defend but plays down the wrong line to get hit on the pads. There is a huge appeal for LBW, and up goes the finger. It looks plumb but Farooqi goes for the review. UltraEdge shows no bat involved and three reds in ball tracking. SRI LANKA WIN BY 2 RUNS & QUALIFY!
Dhananjaya de Silva to Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fligthed, full and on off, Fazalhaq Farooqi taps it towards point. It looks like Afghanistan have miscalculated a bit here.
Dhananjaya de Silva to Fazalhaq Farooqi, A full toss, on middle, Fazalhaq Farooqi pushes it straight back to the bowler.
Fazalhaq Farooqi is the last man in
Dhananjaya de Silva to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, OUT! TAKEN! Mujeeb Ur Rahman goes for the big shot but holes out instead but it is still not over. This floated, full and on middle, Mujeeb Ur Rahman goes for the slog but mistimes it straight into hands of Sadeera Samarawickrama at long on who makes no mistake. Afghanistan can still qualify if they get to 295 in the next three balls!
END OF OVER 37 | 12 Runs & 1 Wkt | AFG 289/8
Dunith Wellalage to Rashid Khan, FOUR! A streaky boundary but Afghanistan won't mind at all! Dunith Wellalage darts this one full and on leg, angling in, Rashid Khan looks to slog it away but gets an inside edge towards the fine leg fence for another boundary. Afghanistan need 3 runs in ball to qualify now but Mujeeb Ur Rahman will be on strike now.
Dunith Wellalage to Rashid Khan, FOUR! Another boundary! Rashid Khan is keeping Afghanistan alive! This is pushed through quicker, full and around off, Rahmat Shah advances down the track and flashes it over extra covers for four more runs.
Dunith Wellalage to Rashid Khan, Quicker, short and on leg, Rashid Khan tries to make room but gets cramped and misses.
Dunith Wellalage to Rashid Khan, FOUR! Rashid Khan finds the fence now! Dunith Wellalage lands this short and on off, Rashid Khan stays there and pulls it hard wide of deep square leg for a boundary.
Dunith Wellalage to Rashid Khan, Flatter, full and on off, Rashid Khan goes for the slog-sweep again, but fails to connect again.
Dunith Wellalage to Rashid Khan, Fires in a yorker now, on off, Rashid Khan goes down to sweep but is late to put his bat down in time and misses.
END OF OVER 36 | 12 Runs & 1 Wkt | AFG 277/8
Kasun Rajitha to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, A good yorker to end the over, on off, Mujeeb Ur Rahman digs it out to the off side. Afghanistan need 15 runs in 7 balls and Rashid Khan everything depends on Rashid Khan now.
Kasun Rajitha to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Pitched up and way outside off this time, Mujeeb Ur Rahman fails to reach it. Wided.
Kasun Rajitha to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Run out chance...missed! This is full and outside off, Mujeeb Ur Rahman jams it out towards covers and sets off for the run but is sent back, the fielder takes his time but misses his shy at the batter's end with Mujeeb nowhere near the crease.