ICC Cricket World Cup, 2019
Venue: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Date & Time: 04 June 2019
RR: 4.65 | Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by 34 runs (D/L method)
Right then. Sri Lanka stay alive (not that they were out anyway) and are upto 6th place. Their net run rate is very poor but they will take the 2 points for now. Tough luck for Afghanistan, who will feel that they should have had this in the bag. No time to fret though! The carnival continues and India, one of the title contenders, announce themselves on Wednesday, as they take on South Africa at Southampton at 10.30 am local (0930 GMT). It is a double header and the second game is between New Zealand and Bangladesh in London at 1.30 pm local (1230 GMT). ADIOS! TAKE CARE!
Victorious Sri Lankan captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, says that the only negative part in this game was the collapse with the bat after the terrific start. Praises the bowling and fielding altogether. Stresses that his side has experience and hence the unit was positive that it could defend the total. On his advice to the bowlers during the innings break, Dimuth says that breaking the opening stand was the key as the Afghan openers usually go hard. Admits that the middle order is a worry and aims to work on how to keep batting for longer periods in the coming games.
Afghanistan skipper, Gulbadin Naib, feels that Afghanistan did not bowl in the right areas at the start and that is where the game was lost. Admits that they did bowl well in the middle period but that wastage of the new balls hurt them. On the wicket, Naib says that it was not easy for batting so all the bowlers had to do was to keep hitting a consistent line and length. Praises the Sri Lankan side for coming out firing with the ball. On the revised target of 187, Gulbadin says that it was not too much and agrees that some improvement is needed in the batting department, like getting together partnerships. On his own batting, Naib says that he just tried to bat straight. Hopes that his team improves in the coming matches.
NUWAN PRADEEP has been named the MAN OF THE MATCH. But Thisara Perera comes up for a chat with Pommie Mbangwa instead. Thisara says that he is really happy with his bowling as 186 is really difficult to defend. Says that on this type of a wicket, if one bowls in the right lengths, it is difficult to score. Praises himself, saying that normally he is a good fielder. Calls his bowling unit as an experienced one and says that they believed that they could defend this total.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka orchestrated an unbelievable collapse, rising to 144/1 and then falling in a heap to post 201. Kusal Perera was the lone warrior with his 78. Did the pitch spice up due to the rain? There was a 3-hour delay due to showers and that perhaps played in the hands of the Lankans, even though 15 runs were wiped off their final score. Please stay tuned for the presentation...
Pradeep bowled with sheer pace and got rid of Naib and Rashid and the Afghans were pegged back once more. And then, when they were hunting for singles and twos, Malinga strut his stuff, bowling yorkers at will and ending the fight. The wickets column might show only the likes of Pradeep and Malinga getting acknowledgement but the whole bowling unit needs to receive praise for keeping the pressure on the opposition.
Just like the Australia game, the lower middle order stood out in this match for Afghanistan. Captain Gulbadin Naib came to the fore and stitched a 64-run stand for the 6th wicket with Najibullah Zadran. At that stage, it seemed like the tables were turning. But Dimuth Karunaratne threw the ball to Nuwan Pradeep and he swung the game around.
Normally, in an ODI, chasing 187 in 41 overs is no difficult task. But Sri Lanka made it difficult for Afghanistan. The Afghans got off to a decent start, adding 34 for the opening wicket but Shahzad's wicket opened the floodgates. They slipped from 34/0 to 57/5 and it really seemed like the game was over at that point of time. But no Afghan game is over without a fightback.
Wow. What a game. Truly sensational. Sri Lanka are alive and kicking. They were always expected to win this one (Were they? My colleagues will not agree) and at the halfway mark, were looking in a really bad shape. But the bowling, spurred by Malinga and Pradeep, led their team to a wonderful win.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman is the last man in.
FREE HIT COMING UP!
Isuru Udana returns. 5-0-19-1 so far.
Hamid Hassan is the new man in.
Lasith Malinga is back on. 5-0-31-1 so far.
Another delay. Dawlat Zadran is not happy with his back and is down again. The physio is back on.
Someone is on the ground. It is Dawlat Zadran. He is getting some treatment on his back. All ready now.
Dawlat Zadran comes in at number 9. All he needs to do is hang in there with Najibullah.
Suranga Lakmal is back on. 3-0-21-0 so far.
Rashid Khan walks in next. Can he hang around with Najib?
Naib has been adjudged LBW! He has taken the review though. Is this missing leg? No inside edge. And... it is CLIPPING LEG STUMP! Naib has to go!
The ball is doing very little now. So you will find a lot of bowlers bowl cross-seam at this stage. Meanwhile, plenty of dark clouds are back to watch this exciting game.
First sign of spin. Dhananjaya de Silva introduced.
Change of ends for Nuwan Pradeep. 5-1-14-2 so far.
It is ironic but the floodlights are being switched on when the ground is bathed in sunshine.
Isuru Udana is back on. 4-0-13-1 so far.
Suranga Lakmal returns. 2-0-18-0 so far.
Malinga is back on.
Direct hit! In or out?
Oops... Pradeep is asked to stop midway through his run up. Naib spots mid on moving around and stops the bowler correctly.
Najibullah Zadran comes out to bat at number 7, replacing Nabi.
Thisara Perera into the attack.
Skipper Gulbadin Naib walks out at number 6, replacing Shahidi.
Direct hit! Is that a wicket? No one is celebrating. In fact, the Lankans are more concerned with Suranga Lakmal going down in pain.
Mohammad Nabi walks in next, with his side in trouble. Afghanistan need a partnership.
POWERPLAY 2 time. 4 fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle till the 33rd over. Nuwan Pradeep into the attack as well.
Hashmatullah Shahidi walks in at number 4, replacing Rahmat.
First bowling change. Isuru Udana into the attack with his left-arm indippers.
Some issue here. Rahmat Shah is not happy with something behind the sightscreen and brings it to the attention of umpire Paul Wilson. The area in front of the sightscreen is white and hence the sunlight falling on those is reflecting right onto Rahmat's eyes. That is being covered now. The area, not the eyes.
Rahmat Shah comes in at number 3, replacing Shahzad.
Suranga Lakmal to bowl with the second new ball.
The players are already back out in the middle. Mohammad Shahzad and Hazrat Zazai are out with their weapons of mass destruction. Lasith Malinga it will be to begin the show with the first new ball. Two slips in place.