Sri Lanka Grinds a Narrow Result Against Afghanistan

Sri Lanka denied Afghanistan a famous victory by winning a low-scoring thriller in the World Cup at Cardiff.

After a dismal batting collapse by Sri Lanka, Afghanistan needed a rain-revised target of just 187 from 41 overs but were beaten by 34 runs.

Afghanistan slipped to 57-5 in their chase but a partnership of 64 by Najibullah Zadran and captain Gulbadin Naib gave them hope.

But Nuwan Pradeep returned and took two quick wickets before Najibullah was run out by Dimuth Karunaratne for 43.

That left the final pair needing 42 more to win but Lasith Malinga bowled Hamid Hassan with a trademark yorker four balls later.

Sri Lanka had earlier gone from 144-1 to 201 all out – a collapse sparked when Mohammed Nabi took three wickets in the 22nd over.

Victory would have been Afghanistan’s second at a World Cup and first against a Test-playing nation at the tournament.

Instead, Sri Lanka earns their first win of the 2019 World Cup.

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib: “We lost the momentum because they scored 100 runs early on.

“In the middle overs, we thought they would score 300-plus, so credit to Nabi for his spell there.

“Credit though should also go to the Sri Lanka bowlers for how well they bowled. The target was not too much – we prepared for that in the last few months – but we were missing something.”

Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne: “We had a good start but suddenly we lost a couple of wickets. That’s the negative part but otherwise, bowling and fielding was a high note.

“After losing the first game, it’s not easy. You have to keep your mind positive. We have experience in these conditions.”