Written by Ramesh Irugalbandara
22 Feb, 2015 | 11:32 am
Wining the toss at the University Oval in Dunedin Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews invited Afghanistan to take first lease of the wicket. Javed Ahmadi and Nawroz Mangal gave the Afghans a steady start with an opening stand of 34 runs.
Suranga Lakmal drew first blood for Sri Lanka bagging the wicket of Mangal for 10 runs. Ahmadi fell soon afterwards for 24 runs. This brought Asghar Sranikzai and Samiullah Shenwari together at the crease.
The pair put on a menacing 88 run stand for the 3rd wicket and threatened to take the game away from Sri Lanka. Stanikzai went on to record his 5th ODI half Century before being caught in the deep off a Rangana Herath delivery. Shenwari who played a patient knock of 38 runs was the next to fall as he was undone by Thisara Perera.
Afghanistan ended up with 232 runs before being bowled out in the last over. Skipper Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga picked up 3 wickets a piece for Sri Lanka.
Chasing 233 for victory the Sri Lankans got off to a disastrous start loosing both their openers for golden ducks. Veteran Kumar Sangakkara was also undone cheaply and Sri Lanka was struggling at 18 for the loss of 3 wickets by the 6th over.
Dimuth Karunaratne who was promoted up the order ahead of Mahela Jayawardene scored a patient 23 runs to steady the Sri Lankan innings. However Hamid Hussain who earlier dismissed Sangakkara bagged his second wicket when Karunaratne nicked one to the slips.
It was Mahela Jayawardene and Skipper Angelo Mathews who calmed the nerves of the Sri Lankan supporters with a 126 run stand for the 6th wicket. Mathews who looked to keep the score board ticking scored 44 runs in 81 balls before being run out.
Jayawardene went on to record his 19th ODI Century (4th in a World Cup) and put Sri Lanka within striking distance of the target. Thisara Perera came in after the fall of Mahela and played a unbeaten 47 runs and secured a 4 wicket win for Sri Lanka.
Hamid Hassan bagged 3 wickets for Afghanistan. Mahela Jayawardene walked away with the man of the match award.
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