Pune, 31 October, 2023 (GNP): In a thrilling match in Pune, Afghanistan secured a triumphant seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka, marking their third win in the Cricket World Cup. This win significantly enhances their chances of securing a spot in the semifinals.
The foundation of Afghanistan’s victory was laid by their exceptional bowlers who managed to dismiss Sri Lanka for a modest 241 runs in 49.3 overs during the match held on Monday.
During their chase, three of Afghanistan’s top five batsmen, including Hashmatullah Shahidi, delivered impressive half-centuries.
Their clinical performance enabled them to achieve the target in just 45.2 overs, propelling them to the fifth position in the points table.
Azmatullah Omarzai, who scored 73 runs, secured the winning run, while Shahidi, with his 58 runs, watched from the opposite end.
Sri Lanka, having been put into bat, saw a number of their batsmen getting set at the crease but failing to fully capitalize on those promising starts.
Following the dismissal of Dimuth Karunaratne in the sixth over, Kusal Mendis (39) built half-century partnerships with Pathum Nissanka (46) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (36) to stabilize their innings.
At a promising 134-2 in the 28th over, Sri Lanka appeared to be on track to reach the 275-run mark. However, the determined Afghan team consistently took wickets to thwart their progress.
Afghanistan faced an early setback with the loss of Rahmanullah Gurbaz in the very first over. However, Rahmat Shah (62) and Ibrahim Zadran (39) steadied the ship, forging a vital 73-run partnership to ease the nerves.
Shahidi and Omarzai demonstrated a blend of prudence and selective aggressiveness during their unbroken century partnership, steadily guiding Afghanistan closer to their target. As the victory neared, both batsmen opted for more aggressive strokes, and it was Omarzai who scored the winning run when his attempt to hit a six resulted in a dropped catch at deep mid-wicket.
Afghanistan’s remarkable victory underscores their growing presence in international cricket and their determination to make a significant impact in the ongoing Cricket World Cup. With this win, they have put themselves in a favorable position to secure a spot in the coveted semifinals.