AFG vs SL: ODI World Cup 2023, 30th ODI
Afghanistan defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets to keep themselves alive in the ongoing ODI World Cup. Batting first, the Lankan Lions started well but their strike rate has been a major issue right from the start. Hence, after they lost a couple of wickets, pressure built on them and eventually the batting unit collapsed. Towards the end, Maheesh Theekshana played really well and hit 29 runs to help Sri Lanka post 241 runs on board, which was looking impossible at one point.
When it came to the chase, Afghanistan lost the wicket of Rahmanullah Gurbaz rather cheaply but others stepped up. Rahmat Shah hit a half-century and after his dismissal, skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi and Azmatuallah Omarzai built a 100-run plus partnership to take the team home. With that, Afghanistan now have six points in the ODI World Cup, while Sri Lanka are in a tight spot.
Azmatullah Omarzai’s all-round brilliance
All-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai played some sensational cricket as he bowled really well and then hit a half-century to help his team get over the line. He has been performing well for quite some time now and hence, the performance should boost his confidence going forward.
Four-fer for Fazalhaq Farooqi
Fazalhaq Farooqi was brilliant with both new and old balls. He hit the deck right from the start and that has helped Afghanistan to bundle out Sri Lanka for 241 runs. In his ten overs, Farooqi gave away 34 runs in his ten overs and picked up four wickets.
Batters stepping up for Afghanistan
Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi and Azmatuallah Omarzai have hit half-centuries each as Afghanistan chased the total in 45.2 overs. With that, they moved to fifth on the points table and will be dreaming of qualifying for the semi-finals.
Losing skipper Kusal Mendis said:
We didn’t do enough with the bat. 300 or maybe 280 would have been sufficient, but not to be. Bowlers have done well in the first 10 overs and the dew has come in little bit and then it became a little hard to bowl the spinners. Actually there was dew today and the ball came onto the bat nicely in the second innings. He (Madhushanka) has done really well, in the first couple of games as well and hope he will continue his form going forward.
Winning skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi said:
Quite happy and proud of the team. Happy for the way we performed in all 3 departments. Last game gave us lot of confidence and belief that we can chase any kind of target. It was a very professional performance from the bowlers today. All the coaching and managing staff are working hard and giving us confidence. Especially Jonathan he is always positive, before Pakistan game he told me one word and that changed my mindset a lot. As a captain you should lead from the front and that’s what I am trying to do, I will try to maintain that in the rest of the tournament. Rashid Khan is a special player and the best player in the world. He (Rashid Khan) is a very energetic guy and always keeps the team very lively. I want to congratulate all the Afghanistan supporters and especially want to thank the Indian fans for coming out and supporting us.
POTM Fazalhaq Farooqi said:
Thanks to the Almighty, nice to have 3 wins in the tournament, happy to have contributed to the team win. I was looking for swing with the new ball, but I didn’t get it, so I just kept it simple, hit the right areas, didn’t want to concede boundaries and that’s how I succeeded. We conceded too many runs in the last few overs (in the previous matches), we put in the hard yards in the nets, bowling with accuracy and trying out as many variations as possible. That’s exactly what we went out and did in the match today (translated by Rashid Khan).
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