Lahore, Sep 5 (PTI) Kusal Mendis bossed star spinner Rashid Khan in his stroke-filled 92 before Afghanistan fought back to limit Sri Lanka to 291 for eight in the group deciding Asia Cup game here on Tuesday.
Due to their inferior run rate, Afghanistan will need to chase down the target in 37.1 overs to qualify for the Super 4s from Group B alongside Bangladesh. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, need a straightforward win to advance.
Unlike Sri Lanka’s opening game, openers Pathum Nissanka (41) and Dimuth Karunaratne (32) gave a brisk start to the innings before being dismissed by medium pacer Gulbadin Naib.
Rather than the bowlers’ skills, it was more about the openers throwing their wickets away after a bright beginning.
Batting at number three, Mendis then put Sri Lanka on course for a 300 plus total with a near flawless effort comprising six boundaries and three sixes.
The highlight of his sublime innings was the comfort with which he played the wily Rashid, who has built a reputation of foxing the best in the business.
Mendis had no issues picking his googlies and in the 26th over, worked him for thee consecutive fours on the leg side. Later in Rashid’s spell, Mendis made good contact with the leggies’ googly to send it over long on for a maximum.
The Sri Lankan batter deserved a hundred but was run out in an unfortunate with the ball bursting through bowler Rashid’s hands to crash the stumps at the non-striker’s end, leaving Mendis well out of his ground.
His 102-run stand with Charith Asalanka (36 off 43) put Sri Lanka on course for a 300 plus total but Afghanistan spinners removed Dhananjaya De Silva and skipper Dasuna Shanaka in a space of six balls to slow down the scoring rate.
In the end, Sri Lanka did well to get close to the 300-mark thanks to a 64-run stand for the eighth wicket between Maheesh Theekshana (28) and Dunith Wellalage (33 not out).
Source: PTI News