Afghanistan’s thrilling all-around performance helped them overcome Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the opening game of the 2022 Asia Cup. The bowlers set up the win by holding Sri Lanka to a score of 5 for 3. The massacre was largely Fazalhaq Farooqi’s fault. Danushka Gunathilaka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s 44-run partnership gave Sri Lanka a momentary middle-order lift, but Afghanistan immediately fought back by destroying the bottom order.
Despite Chamika Karunaratne’s spirited late-inning resistance, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb ur Rehman, and Mohammad Nabi all contributed to the wickets, and Sri Lanka’s total of 105 was woefully insufficient. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Hazratullah Zazai scored 83 runs in the Powerplay alone, thus eliminating the game as a contest, and it only took the Afghan openers 10.1 overs to achieve it.
The Asia Cup began with commotion and controversy, but by the time the haze of the opening three overs lifted, Afghanistan had a vice-like hold on the match. Though Pathum Nissanka’s wicket raised questions, Farooqi struck twice in two balls in the first over to dismiss Kusal Mendis and Charith Asalanka.
The hitter was deemed to have nicked off to the keeper by the umpire, but Sri Lanka promptly requested a review. In an odd instance of third umpiring, UltraEdge showed almost little variation from the on-field umpire’s call but was nonetheless told to stick with it. However, Afghanistan had the upper hand, which upset the Sri Lankan side. The following three hours. They gave it their all.
Rajapaksa Fight back
Sri Lanka saw the tiniest ray of optimism right after that disastrous start in which they lost three early wickets. It manifested itself as a chic little brawl between Rajapaksa and Gunathilaka. To open that section of the play, Rajapaksa lofted Naveen ul Haq over the mid-off boundary for a magnificent six, with his teammate following suit later in the over. To repair some of the damage that had been done earlier, the pair scored four boundaries in the final Power play over, which cost 20.
Gunathilaka, though, delivered a reverse sweep directly down the throat of deep cover, which caused Sri Lanka to once again start to lose control of the situation. Despite Rajapaksa’s persistence for a while, he was eventually outplayed by some incredible running that cost him two wickets in two balls.
Amazing resistance by Karunaratne
By the fifteenth over, it was probably far too late, although Karunaratne was unaware of this. He nearly single-handedly added 30 to the last partnership by skillfully farming the strike for the final five overs, ensuring Sri Lanka recovered from 75 for 9 to post a three-figure total.
In many respects, the action was captivating during this time since practically every delivery was hit to a deep fielder and turned into a dot ball. There were times when the running could have been more precise, but after two run-outs that were nothing more than brain freezes, Karunaratne.
Gurbaz wasn’t going to let a low-scoring match between Sri Lanka and the UAE turn into a terrible second-innings scuffle. Before Sri Lanka’s spinners could begin their job, he would smash 40 off 18 balls in a brief cameo to assist Afghanistan in scoring 83 in the Powerplay, breaking the back of the chase. In a no-holds-barred demonstration of unbridled power, Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana were picked out for punishment and tonked for 16 and 21 respectively.