ICC World Cup 2023 Heat-ups: Afghanistan sounds warning as Gurbaz, Rahmat sink Sri Lanka

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A downpour within the afternoon delayed the beginning by quarter-hour, with floodlights shining vibrant even earlier than the sport started. However Kusal Mendis shone even brighter, setting the stadium ablaze with a whirlwind knock.

However a mixture of Afghanistan spinners spelling doom into Sri Lanka’s batting after Mendis’ retirement, a fluent partnership between Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Rahmat Shah, and an premature climate intervention meant Sri Lanka stand-in captain’s knock ended up in a shedding trigger.

Chasing a revised goal of 257 in 42 overs – after rain interrupted a chase of 295 with Afghanistan at 118 for one in 20.5 overs – Gurbaz (119, 92b, 8×4, 9×6) and Rahmat’s (93, 82b, 10×4, 3×6) power-hitting matched Mendis’ effort to see the group via. The duo’s partnership of 212 runs off 152 balls, earlier than each concurrently retired, meant Afghanistan romped dwelling with 23 balls to spare.

Regardless of the duo’s effort, it was Mendis (158, 87b, 19×4, 9×6) – who took over the captaincy with Dasun Shanaka unavailable attributable to a sore shoulder – whose knock couldn’t be overshadowed on the Assam Cricket Affiliation stadium.

The precise-hander was in very good contact ever since he changed Dimuth Karunaratne. His straight punches and cover-drives off the pacers have been a deal with to look at and as soon as spin was launched, he effortlessly cleared the shorter facet of the bottom. That he raced to his fifty in 31 balls, 100 in 59 and 150 in 84 is testimony to his kind.

Sadeera Samarawickrama performed second fiddle, scoring solely 32 of the 158 runs he and Mendis added for the third wicket. At 240 for 2, Sri Lanka was flying and Mendis determined to retire out, hoping for the lower-order to get match apply.

From there on, Sri Lanka misplaced the final seven wickets for a meagre 54 runs, with veteran Mohammad Nabi wreaking havoc along with his offspin.

Later within the chase, Gurbaz and Rahmat displayed their range-hitting at will to serve a stern warning for the favourites.

BRIEF SCORES

Sri Lanka 294 in 46.2 overs (Kusal Mendis 158, Sadeera Samarawickrama 39, Mohammad Nabi 4/44) misplaced to Afghanistan (goal: 257 in 42) 261/4 in 38.1 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 119, Rahmat Shah 93).



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