CARDIFF (WALES), June 4: Sri Lanka recovered from a dramatic batting collapse to knock over Afghanistan for 152 and seal a 34-run win for its first victory at the Cricket World Cup on Tuesday.
The Lankans imploded from 144-1 to 201 all out in an innings delayed by nearly three hours because of rain at Sophia Gardens in the Welsh capital.
Chasing a revised target of 187, Afghanistan slumped from 34-0 to 57-5 then battled back through a 64-run stand between Gulbadin Naib (23) and Najibullah Zadran (43).
Sri Lanka again responded and took the final five wickets for 31 runs, with recalled seamer Nuwan Pradeep getting 4-31. The 1996 World Cup winners lost their opening group game to New Zealand by 10 wickets. Afghanistan have two defeats from two matches, after a loss to Australia on Saturday.
The error-strewn match in Cardiff featured 52 extras – Sri Lanka’s 35 was the second-highest scorer – to strengthen the feeling this was a contest between the two teams likely fighting to avoid last place in the 10-team group.
The Afghans’ only win at a World Cup remains the one over Scotland in 2015 but they’ll feel this match slipped from their grasp, especially when Sri Lanka was reeling at 159-6 after three wickets in one over from Mohd Nabi.
Sri Lanka: D Karunaratne c Najibullah b Nabi 30, K Perera c Shahzad b Rashi 78, L Thirimanne b Nabi 25, K Mendis c Rahmat b Nabi 2, A Mathews c Rahmat b Nabi 0, D de Silva c Shahzad b Hamid 0, T Perera run out (Hashmatullah/Shahzad) 2, I Udana b Dawlat 10, S Lakmal not out 15, L Malinga b Dawlat 4, N Pradeep b Rashid 0. Extras: (lb-10, nb-3, w-22) 35. Total: (All out, 36.5 overs) 201. Fall: 1-92, 2-144, 3-146, 4-146, 5-149, 6-159, 7-178, 8-180, 9-199. Bowling: Dawlat 6-0-34-2, Hamid 7-0-53-1, Mujeeb 3-0-19-0, Nabi 9-0-30-4, Gulbadin 4-0-38-0, Rashid 7.5-1-17-2.
Afghanistan: M Shahzad c D Karunaratne b Malinga 7, H Zazai c T Perera b Pradeep 30, R Shah c Mathews b Udana 2, H Shahidi c K Perera b Pradeep 4, Mohd Nabi b T Perera 11, G Naib lbw b Pradeep 23, N Zadran run out (D Karunaratne) 43, R Khan b Pradeep 2, D Zadran b Malinga 6, H Hassan b Malinga 6, M Rahman not out 1. Extras 16 (lb-0, w-15, nb-1). Total (all out in 32.4 overs) 152. Fall: 1-34, 2-42, 3-44, 4-57, 5-57, 6-121, 7-123, 8-136, 9-145. Bowling: Lasith Malinga 6.4-0-39-3, Suranga Lakmal 6-0-27-0, Isuru Udana 6-0-28-1, Nuwan Pradeep 9-1-31-4, Thisara Perera 4-0-19-1, D de Silva 1-0-7-0. – Agencies