Asia Cup 2022 | Farooqi breathes fire, Afghanistan stuns Lanka

This was the first time Afghanistan bowled out a team without Rashid Khan taking a wicket

This was the first time Afghanistan bowled out a team without Rashid Khan taking a wicket

Afghanistan romped to an impressive eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the opening match of the Asia Cup at the Dubai International Stadium here on Saturday.

After being put in to bat, Sri Lanka lost the plot and crumbled to 105. The chase was over in quick time, with Afghanistan making the runs in 10.1 overs. Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz smashed an 18-ball 40 to put the match beyond the reach of the Lankans. Fellow opener Hazratullah Zazai (37 n.o., 28b, 5×4, 1×6) stuck around to finish the job.

Sri Lanka was pushed onto the backfoot in the very first over, when opener Kusal Mendis and Charith Asalanka fell to left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi. Mendis was trapped on the pads when attempting to flick, while Asalanka failed to negotiate a delivery which tailed in a long way.

Danushka Gunathilaka (17) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (38) put on 44 for the fourth wicket. Gunathilaka’s reverse sweep to Mujeeb Ur Rehman proved to be his undoing.

Afghanistan gained the big wicket of Rajapaksa through a direct hit from skipper Mohammed Nabi. At 49 for four, it would have been prudent for Wanindu Hasaranga to play the waiting game. The all-rounder took the attacking route instead, and paid the price. Skipper Dasun Shanaka was sent back for a golden duck, and was followed quickly by Maheesh Theekshana (0) and Matheesha Pathirana (5).

Chamika Karunaratne (31, 38b, 3×4, 1×6) showed some fight to ensure that Sri Lanka batted nearly its full quota of overs. Farooqi, who started the Sri Lanka rot, was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets.

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