WC: Shahidi and Omarzai guide Afghanistan to victory after bowlers restrain Sri Lanka
By siliconindia | Tuesday, 31 October 2023, 08:40:30 AM IST
Afghanistan pulled off another victory in the ICC Men's ODI World Cup by defeating Sri Lanka by seven wickets. A brilliant bowling performance restricted Sri Lanka to 242, which Afghanistan chased down with ease thanks to an unbeaten partnership of 111 runs between skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi and Azmatullah Omarzai - who scored 58 and 73 respectively. This victory marked Afghanistan's third win in six matches, moving them up to fifth position in the points table. Earlier in the tournament, they had already defeated defending champion England and neighbours Pakistan. Afghanistan came up with another clinical performance and thus moved close to a spot in the semifinals. After pacers Fazalhaq Farooqi (4-34) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2-38) helped Afghanistan bundle out Sri Lanka for 241. Rahmat Shah. Hashmatullah Shahidi and Azmatullah Omarzai scored half-centuries in a solid performance with the bat as they reached 242/3 in 45.2 overs to register a seven-wicket win.
Afghanistan suffered an early setback when Rahmanullah Gurbaz, their best batter so far in this World Cup, was out in the first over for a zero with just one run on the board. Ibrahim Zadran (39) and Rahmat Shah (62) raised 72 runs for the second wicket as Rahmat Shah completed his fifty in 61 balls, hitting five boundaries. Zadran was out in the 17th over, but Rahmat Shah and skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi raised 58 runs for the third wicket, taking Afghanistan to 131 before Karunaratne caught Rahmat Shah off Rajitha cross-seamer that landed on good length, his knock of 62 coming off 74 balls. He struck seven boundaries during his knock.
Afghanistan secured an impressive victory, with the help of Shahidi and Omarzai. Omarzai scored 73 runs off 63 balls, including six fours and three sixes, while Shahidi hit one four and one six, completing his fifty off 60 deliveries. The duo's fourth-wicket partnership remained unbeaten at 111 runs, leading Afghanistan to their memorable victory. Farooqi, after Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bowl, took their first wicket by dismissing Karunaratne for 15 runs, with Sri Lanka losing their first wicket with only 22 runs on the board.
Pathum Nissanka (46) and skipper Kusal Mendis (39) raised 62 runs for the second wicket at a slow pace as Sri Lanka reached 84/1 in the 19th over when Nissanka feathered a superb back-of-a-length delivery by Azmatullah Qmarzi to Rahmanullah Gurbaz at backward point. Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama (36) added 50 runs for the third wicket partnership before Mendis holed to deep midwicket with the score 134. Samarawickrama was out soon, trapped lbw by Farooqi with the score reading 139/4. Charith Asalanka and Dhananjaya de Silva got starts but could not capitalize. Sri Lanka continued to lose wickets at regular intervals as Farooqui sent back the experienced Angelo Mathews (23) and also accounted for Mahesh Theekshana for 29 as some of the Sri Lankan batters got the start but could not capitalize on it.
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