Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka by 60 points in their opening one-day international match at Pallekele International Stadium, courtesy of Ibrahim Zadran’s 106.
Fly-beater Zadran took Afghanistan 8 for 294 and Sri Lanka were all out for 234 with 12 overs to spare in Kandy on Friday.
Sri Lanka had hope during the chase as Pathum Nissanka was in it. The opening batsman scored an 83-ball 85 with 10 limits. However, he didn’t have much support from the rest of the higher order.
Wanindu Hasaranga threatened to take the game with a late flourish. He crushed 22 carries on a Mohammad Nabi over six and four limits and reached his fourth half-century on 31 deliveries.
The required rate was under Sri Lanka’s control, but Hasaranga, the last established batsman, lacked partners. In the end, he was the last man out.
Earlier, Afghanistan’s top order put in a splendid performance and although Sri Lanka fought their way back from the dead, a goal of 295 was too much for the hosts.
Zadran, 20, playing only his sixth ODI, added 84 runs for the first wicket with Rahmanullah Gurbaz, 53, after opting to strike first.
Zadran then added 118 runs for the second wicket with 52-year-old Rahmat Shah and Afghanistan had 200 runs on the board with 12 overs and eight wickets in hand.
Zadran reached his second hundred ODI with a nice shot to the edge of the thin leg off Lahiru Kumara. Left-arm fast Fazalhaq Farooqi ended his shot when Zadran dragged one over the stumps.
He finished with four wickets and was well supported by Gulbadin Naib, who claimed three wickets.
Afghanistan lost their way after Zadran was sacked as five wickets fell for 27 runs in the last four overs.
It was Afghanistan’s second win against Sri Lanka in six games and brought them closer to qualifying for the Cricket World Cup in India next year.
The second of the three-game series will take place on Sunday.
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