Sri Lanka Vs Afghanistan: Pradeep & Malinga pilot SL to victory despite of Nabi’s heroics
June 4, 2019
ICC CWC 2019 | match 7 | Sri Lanka Vs Afghanistan | Post-match analysis
Mohammad Nabi led an exceptional turnaround for Afghanistan as they restricted Sri Lanka to 201 in the seventh match of the ICC Cricket World Cup, 2019, in Cardiff on Tuesday (June 4). Nabi ended with 4 for 30 as Sri Lanka, who were once bossing the game, slipped from 144 for 1 to 159 for 6 in no time. The rain chewed away most parts of the day but at one point it seamed to be going in Afghanistan’s way but they fall apart and in the end they were short by 34 runs in DL rewised total of 187 in 41 overs.
“Win or Lose. This Afghanistan team never ceases to win hearts with their attitude towards the game. Incredible spirit.”
With the track matching the outfield, Afghanistan had no hesitation in bowling first. The opening pacers though were poor, lacked any sort of discipline and ended up dishing out several loose deliveries.
While Perera continued to stick to his attacking approach, Dimuth Karunaratne (30) became the first to fall in the 13th over with 92 on the board. Lahiru Thirimanne (25) and Perera (78) helped the side make steady progress before Nabi whipped off the middle-order. At 144 for 1, Afghanistan were under so much pressure that even Rashid Khan was failing to make an impact. That’s when Nabi turned things around in the 22nd as the over read – dot, Wicket, 2, Wicket, dot, Wicket.
Thirimanne (25) was bowled while Kusal Mendis (2) and Angelo Mathews (0) were caught at first slip poking at deliveries outside off. At that stage, Sri Lanka lost 4 for 6 when Dhananjaya de Silva was dismissed for a duck. Perera saw the carnage and was forced to slow down. From overs 21 to 30, Sri Lanka scored just 38 and lost five to give Afghanistan the edge after being on autopilot.
Perera (2) and Isuru Udana (10) stopped the nosedive with some resistance but more recklessness followed, and raised more questions about their approach. Rain arrived with Sri Lanka on 182 for 8, and they managed to cross the 200-run mark thanks to a few boundaries from Suranga Lakmal before being bowled out.
Rashid Khan picked up the final wicket to fall with Sri Lanka folding up for 201 in the 37th over. As per the DLS method, the revised target is 187. Remember, Kusal’s pyrotechnics had put Sri Lanka in a formidable position at 144 for 1 before they lost their way with Nabi scything through the middle order to end up with four wickets to his name.
Chasing a 187 in 41 overs, Mohmad Shehzad (7) was the first victim of Malinga. From there-on Sri Lanka didn’t look back N. Pradeep scalped 4 wickets to derail the afghani chase. Hazratullah Zazai got a quick fire 30 from 25 balls before falling to N. Pradeep.
The all-rounder Thisara Perera comes into the attack and goes through Nabi’s (11) defence in his first over of the match. Things looking bleak for Afghanistan with one of their better batsmen back in the pavilion.
The pair is still going strong and it looks like Naib (23) and Najibullah (43) have turned things around. Malinga ends the game by taking two wickets of Dawlat Zadran (6) and Hamid (6) to close-in the game by 34 runs.
Suddenly, there is drama and action in the middle!! Nabi has picked up three wickets in a single over on a seaming track! Unbelievable. Some clever flight and good control helped Nabi to run through the cream of Sri Lanka’s batting order.
Nabi has to be the best finger spinner going around in ODIs. He has about three variations and outsmarts the batsmen with slight changes in pace and length. Lovely bowling. Afghanistan’s players have found their voice again.
He tempted Mendis to prod forward with the scrambled seam off spinner, while Thirimanne chopped one on. Mathews was done in by the arm ball.
Player of the match
Nuwan Pradeep is the Player of the Match for his career-best figures of 9-1-31-4. He scalped the Zazai, Shahidi, skipper Naib, Rashid Khan, more importantly when the team wanted someone to come upfront forgetting the 10 wickets defeat against NZ.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 201 in 36.5 overs (Kusal Perera 78; Mohammad Nabi 4-30) beat Afghanistan 152 in 32.4 overs (Najibullah Zadran 43; Nuwan Pradeep 4-31) by 34 runs (DLS method).