Fast bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi returned bowling figures of 3-11 to help Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in Saturday’s opening match of the Asian Cup. Afghanistan chose to field Sri Lanka and pooled it for a paltry 105, a total of their batsmen overhauled in 10.1 overs in Dubai. Left-handed Hazratullah Zazai, unbeaten at 37, and wicketkeeper-batsman Rahmanllah Gurbaz, hitting 40, made 83 runs for the opening wicket to build on the dominance begun by the bowlers.
Afghanistan, in Group B with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, have got off to a booming start to their campaign in the six-nation tournament that serves as the prelude to the T20 World Championship in Australia in October-November.
Farooqi, a quick left-arm, stood out for Afghanistan after hitting with consecutive deliveries in the first over of the innings to trudge Kusal Mendis and Charith Asalanka back to the pavilion for two and nothing.
Naveen-ul-Haq then sent back Pathum Nissanka who fell behind after the batsman judged the call on the field and the third umpire upheld the decision despite no visible spike on the ultra-edge, leaving the batsman and the locker room stunned.
At the time, Sri Lanka struggled with just five runs on the board and three wickets in the first two overs.
Danushka Gunathilaka (17) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (38) tried to hit back with a flurry of boundaries in a 20-run sixth over before spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman broke the 44-run tie.
Wickets continued to tumble with the 13th left, delivering two runs, including Rajapaksa’s end while attempting a second run.
Chamika Karunaratne made 31 to take the team total past 100 before being bowled out by Farooqi.
Afghan openers went wild as Gurbaz hit three fours and four sixes in his 18-ball blitz before falling to leg spinner Wanindu Hasaranga.
Zazai continued the attack with Ibrahim Zadran, who made 15 before he ran out, to bring Afghan supporters to life and silence the Sri Lankan crowd.
India meets Pakistan in a highly anticipated Group A clash on Sunday at the same venue.
(This story was not edited by The Singapore Time staff and was generated automatically Platforms.)
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