Cricket: Sri Lanka Triumphs – Hasaranga and Pathirana Seal Nail-Biting Win

Cricket: Sri Lanka Triumphs – In a pulsating encounter at Dambulla, Sri Lanka clinched a thrilling victory against Afghanistan in the first T20 International, winning by a mere four runs. The sold-out crowd witnessed a rollercoaster of a match that saw stellar performances from Wanindu Hasaranga and Matheesha Pathirana.

Sri Lanka’s Innings: Hasaranga’s Counterpunch and Afghanistan’s Bowling Brilliance

Sri Lanka, put into bat, faced a stern challenge from Afghanistan’s bowling attack. Despite a fiery start that yielded 51 runs in the powerplay, Sri Lanka lost key wickets. The Lankan lower order struggled against the variations in pace and length from Fazalhaq Farooqi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Naveen-Ul-Haq, and Karim Janat.

Captain Hasaranga, aware of the task at hand, promoted himself up the order, showcasing his prowess as a floating pinch-hitter. In a blitzkrieg innings of 67 off 32 deliveries, Hasaranga formed a vital partnership with Sadeera Samarawickrama, taking Sri Lanka to 146 for 6 by the 16th over. However, Afghanistan’s bowlers struck back, limiting Sri Lanka to a total of 160.

Afghanistan’s Chase: Explosive Start and Sri Lanka’s Bowling Resurgence

Afghanistan commenced their chase with a bang, following the script for middling chases by capitalizing on the powerplay. Ibrahim Zadran led the charge, and with 57 runs on the board in the opening six overs for the loss of just one wicket, the game seemed in control for Afghanistan.

However, Hasaranga, true to his pre-match talk about Sri Lanka’s impressive bowling stocks, utilized them effectively. Introducing himself into the attack in the powerplay, Hasaranga dismissed Gulbadin Naib with a well-disguised googly. Matheesha Pathirana, playing a pivotal role, grabbed two wickets in quick succession, and Dasun Shanaka’s variations in pace accounted for two more wickets.

Pathirana’s Heroics and Sri Lanka’s Nervy Victory

As Afghanistan’s chase approached the wire, Ibrahim Zadran and Karim Janat’s partnership of 39 off 28 brought the game to a tantalizing finish. With 36 needed from 24 balls and five wickets in hand, the momentum seemed to favor Afghanistan.

However, Matheesha Pathirana had other ideas. Dismissing Janat with a searing length ball, he saved his best for last, producing two exceptionally quick fuller deliveries to get rid of Noor Ahmad and Naveen-Ul-Haq. Afghanistan, reduced to 150 for 9, faced a daunting challenge in the final over.

Binura Fernando, who had initially struggled with the ball, redeemed himself with a series of well-directed wide yorkers. Ibrahim Zadran, unable to get away, couldn’t muster the required runs, and Sri Lanka secured a nervy victory by defending their total of 160.

In a match filled with twists and turns, Sri Lanka’s bowlers, led by Hasaranga and Pathirana, showcased their resilience, turning the tide in the hosts’ favor. With a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, Sri Lanka has set the stage for an exciting showdown in the upcoming matches.

Cricket: Sri Lanka Triumphs - Hasaranga and Pathirana Seal Nail-Biting Win
Cricket: Sri Lanka Triumphs – Hasaranga and Pathirana Seal Nail-Biting Win

Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan T20I Thriller – FAQs

  1. What was the result of the first T20I between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan?
    • Sri Lanka emerged victorious in a nail-biting encounter, winning by four runs against Afghanistan in Dambulla.
  2. Who were the standout performers for Sri Lanka in the match?
    • Wanindu Hasaranga played a pivotal role, scoring a remarkable 67 off 32 balls. Matheesha Pathirana also made a significant impact, taking crucial wickets and turning the game in Sri Lanka’s favor.
  3. How did Sri Lanka fare in their innings, and who were the key contributors with the bat?
    • Sri Lanka scored 160 runs in their innings. Hasaranga’s counterpunch innings of 67 and a blitzkrieg partnership with Sadeera Samarawickrama were crucial in setting a competitive total.
  4. How did Afghanistan’s bowlers pose a challenge to Sri Lanka’s lower order?
    • Fazalhaq Farooqi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Naveen-Ul-Haq, and Karim Janat showcased variations in pace and length, making it challenging for Sri Lanka’s lower order and tail to score freely.
  5. How did Afghanistan start their chase, and who played a key role in the initial overs?
    • Afghanistan made a dynamic start to their chase, utilizing the powerplay effectively. Ibrahim Zadran led the charge, amassing 57 runs in the opening six overs, losing only one wicket.
  6. How did Sri Lanka’s bowlers, especially Hasaranga and Pathirana, counter Afghanistan’s strong start?
    • Hasaranga introduced himself into the attack in the powerplay, dismissing Gulbadin Naib with a well-disguised googly. Pathirana’s crucial wickets and Dasun Shanaka’s variations in pace played a vital role in stemming Afghanistan’s momentum.
  7. What was the key partnership for Afghanistan in the middle overs, and how did the game approach its climax?
    • Ibrahim Zadran and Karim Janat had a crucial stand of 39 off 28, bringing the game down to the wire. With 36 needed from 24 balls and five wickets in hand, Afghanistan seemed poised for victory.
  8. How did Matheesha Pathirana turn the game in Sri Lanka’s favor in the penultimate overs?
    • Pathirana dismissed key batsmen, including Janat, with well-executed deliveries, reducing Afghanistan to 86 for 5. His exceptional penultimate over grabbed two wickets for just three runs, setting the stage for a thrilling finish.
  9. Who redeemed himself with a series of well-directed wide yorkers in the final over, securing Sri Lanka’s victory?
    • Binura Fernando, who initially struggled, redeemed himself in the final over with well-directed wide yorkers. This prevented Ibrahim Zadran from scoring the required runs, ensuring a nervy victory for Sri Lanka.
  10. What is the current status of the series, and what can we expect in the upcoming matches?
  • With a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, Sri Lanka has set the stage for an exciting showdown in the upcoming matches. The series promises more thrilling cricket and intense competition between the two teams.

Conclusion : Cricket: Sri Lanka Triumphs

In conclusion, the first T20 International between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan in Dambulla unfolded as a riveting cricket spectacle. Sri Lanka emerged victorious in a close encounter, winning by four runs. The match showcased brilliant performances from Wanindu Hasaranga, who played a captain’s knock with a quickfire 67, and Matheesha Pathirana, whose crucial wickets tilted the game in Sri Lanka’s favor. Despite Afghanistan’s explosive start and a late-game push, Sri Lanka’s bowlers, led by Pathirana, demonstrated resilience, securing a nervy win. With a 1-0 lead in the series, Sri Lanka sets the stage for an exciting continuation, promising more intense cricket battles in the upcoming matches.

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