Wanindu, Dhananjaya keep Sri Lanka’s semi-final hopes alive
BRISBANE: Wanindu Hasaranga led an inspired bowling effort before Dhananjaya de Silva hit a fine fifty as Sri Lanka kept its semi-final hopes alive with a six-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup Super 12 Group 1 game here on Tuesday.
Leg-spinner Hasaranga (3/13 off 4 overs) and pacer Lahiru Kumara (2/30) shared five wickets between them to restrict Afghanistan to 144 for eight after it opted to bat. Dhananjaya then took control of the Sri Lanka innings with an unbeaten 66 off 42 balls (6 fours, 2 sixes) as the Asia Cup champion crossed the line with nine balls to spare.
Sri Lanka is fourth in the group with four points from as many matches while Afghanistan (2 points from 4 matches) became the first team to be eliminated from the Super 12 stage.
Defending a modest total, Sri Lanka started well but Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2/24) marked the end of Pathum Nissanka (10) in the second over. Left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi (0/22) bowled a maiden in the following over to tighten the screws.
However, Kusal Mendis (25) hit back-to-back boundaries in the next over, both over mid-wicket, as Sri Lanka dallied to 28 for one in the powerplay. Leg-spinner Rashid Khan (2/31) struck in his first over as Mendis went for a premeditated sweep but top-edged for the wicketkeeper to catch it.
However, Dhananjaya accumulated 54 and 42 runs with Charith Asalanka (19) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (18) to guide Sri Lanka to victory. Earlier, Sri Lanka bagged wickets at regular intervals as none of the Afghanistan batters managed to breach the 30-run mark. Hasaranga, who was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers, accounted for opener Usman Ghani (27), Rashid (9) and Mujeeb (1). The leggie received the ‘Man of the Match’ award.
BRIEF SCORES: Afghanistan 144/8 in 20 overs (W Hasaranga 3/13, L Kumara 2/30) lost to Sri Lanka 148/4 in 19.3 overs (Dhananjaya 66*)