With Pathum Nissanka’s remarkable double century. Sri Lanka managed to stave off a determined onslaught from Afghanistan and win the first One Day International (ODI) in Pallekele by 42 runs. taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The second-highest sixth-wicket partnership in ODI history. a record 242 runs between Azmatullah Omarzai and Mohammad Nabi. allowed Afghanistan to go that close. Nabi struck 136 off 130 balls, while Omarazai finished at 115 off 149. although Afghanistan lost but did so with pride.
They would be left wondering what could have been if their top order had contributed more significantly. but many failed to get the quick start they needed in order to chase down Sri Lanka’s massive 382-run goal. The biggest damage was done by Pramod Madushan, who sent three of Afghanistan’s top four packing during the first powerplay. Both the left-handed Hashmatullah Shahidi and the right-handed Rahmanullah Gurbaz were eliminated by in-duckers. as Madushan was skilled at moving the ball both off the ground and through the air.
He got Ibrahim Zadran caught at slip in between the two. he came back later to break the stand between Nabi and Omarzai. His final stats were 4 for 75. Afghanistan was on the verge of a humiliating loss as they had fallen to 55 for 5 in the middle of the ninth over. with Dushmantha Chameera taking the wickets of Rahmat Shah and Gulbadin Naib at the other end. However, that was also the start of the comeback. as Omarzai and Nabi decided early on to play as deep a game as they could.
The two knew
they couldn’t take unnecessary chances because there wasn’t much batting to follow. but they still identified boundaries to make sure the run rate didn’t go out of control. Nevertheless, their scoring pace didn’t surpass six an over until the 36th over. at which time the necessary rate was approaching 12 an over. The need at the 40th over was 137 off 60 deliveries. which was a lofty goal to meet given that Sri Lanka had already scored 120 in the same amount of time. Ultimately, the demand was excessive, particularly since Sri Lanka had many overs available from all of their top bowlers.
It also served to contextualize the Lankans’ batting effort. especially that of the brilliant Nissanka, who scored 210 off just 139 deliveries. With a run-a-ball score of 88. Avishka Fernando was the second highest scorer after he and Nissanka put on a 182-run opening partnership. which was just the third century opening stand to reach double figures in nine innings for Sri Lanka. But the suffering in Afghanistan didn’t end there. After winning the toss, the visitors. who had chosen to field a potent seam attack of four, were left to lament their choice to bowl first. since the circumstances were perfect for batting. Nissanka started to become wild after a quiet first five overs, with just 22 runs scored.
During the middle overs, Nabi was dominating the bowling, but at the beginning and end of the innings. the Afghan bowlers were at Nissanka’s mercy. The first player to feel the heat was Omarzai. who took two consecutive boundaries through midwicket before being covered. After two overs, Fareed Ahmad was removed for 19. which included a six off a free hit and two fours. With Avishka taking the brunt of the damage in Ahmad’s subsequent over. which saw him go for a further 17. Sri Lanka quickly reached 90 runs by the conclusion of the tenth over.
From that point on,
the scoring decreased. with sporadic bursts of boundaries keeping the scoring rate close to the seven-and-over threshold. The first stand was ended by a blistering grab from Hashmatullah Shahidi at backward point. after Avishka had sliced a wide one hard to his right. More of the same followed Kusal Mendis’ introduction. as he scrambled about for a 31-ball 16 before misfiring on a follow-through shot. But Sadeera Samarawickrama’s arrival halfway through the 36th over was the turning point for Sri Lanka. as his ability to find boundaries and rotate strike matched Nissanka’s growing awareness of the ball’s size with each stroke.
In just 71 deliveries, they put up a stand of 121. which they increased in the last 10 overs. Nissanka alone was responsible for 76 of the 120 runs that were scored during this period of time. He reached his 150th run with a double beyond backward point. having previously reached his century with a single eased to deep cover. However, hostility surrounding such landmarks. Twice in an over. Noor Ahmad was slog-swept over deep midwicket by the breeze. Heaved over deep midwicket, flicked over square leg. clobbered down the ground, and paddled behind square all happened to Fazalhaq Farooqi. And Afghanistan came back to Fareed when everything else failed. but Nissanka would not make a mistake.
Nissanka reached his double ton after he successfully avoided a series of wide Fareed yorkers in the last over. after failing to do so in the previous two overs. After two balls, he hit a high drive to deep extra cover to end the innings. then he whacked one over square leg. In the end, it proved to be a knock worthy of winning any game.
Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Highlights Today. Afghanistan tour of Sri Lanka 2024 1st ODI (D/N), Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Friday 9-2-2024.
Toss: Afghanistan, elected to field first.
Sri Lanka team: Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (capt, wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Janith Liyanage, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Dushmantha Chameera, Pramod Madushan, Dilshan Madushanka.
Afghanistan team: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad.
Head to Head In ODI’s: 12
Sri Lanka Won: 7
Afghanistan Won: 4
Sri Lanka ODI Rankings: 8th
Afghanistan ODI Rankings: 11th
(Last five completed ODI’s, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LLLWW
Match Timings: 4:30 AM GMT | 10:00 AM Local
Umpires – Alex Wharf, Raveendra Wimalasiri
TV Umpire – Michael Gough
Match Referee – Chris Broad
Reserve Umpire – Prageeth Rambukwella
Match number – ODI no. 4725
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