Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are the two teams to progress from Group B of the Asia Cup, with Bangladesh eliminated. The Afghans cruised through with two comfortable victories, whilst the Sri Lankans had a much more dramatic passage to the Super Four stage of the tournament, with a dramatic win over the Bangladeshis.
Under the format of the competition, the two leading teams have now joined Group A winners India, in the Super Four stage.
Afghanistan Sri Lanka match recap
Afghanistan got the tournament started with an emphatic victory over Sri Lanka in Dubai.
Winning the toss and choosing to field first, they soon had their opponents deep in trouble, reducing them to 5-3 after the first two overs. Danushka Gunathilaka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa briefly stopped the rot with a stand of 44, but the dismissal of Gunathilaka started another batting collapse, as six more wickets fell for the addition of 26 runs.
Rajapaksa made 38, but it was left to Chamika Karunaratne to bring some semblance of respectability to the score with a late 31. With those the only three men to reach double figures, Sri Lanka were all out for just 105, with two balls of their innings still to be bowled.
Left arm pace bowler Fazalhaq Farooqi took 3 – 11, whilst there were two wickets each for Mujeeb-ur-Rahman and Mohammad Nabi.
The result was never in doubt once the Afghanistan opening pair put on 83 for the first wicket in a little over six overs. Rahmanullah Gurbaz went for 40, scored off just 18 balls, including 4 sixes, but Hazratullah Zazai and Ibrahim Zadran then took their side to the verge of victory.
Zadran was dismissed just before the end, but, with Hazratullah unbeaten on 37, it scarcely mattered,
Afghanistan had won by 8 wickets with almost half their overs still to be bowled.
Bangladesh – Afghanistan match recap
The Afghans booked their place in the Super Four stage of the competition with another comfortable win, this time against Bangladesh in Sharjah.
This time it was Bangladesh who won the toss and chose to bat first, on a slow pitch.
But they, too, made a poor start and lost their first four wickets for just 28 runs. The experienced Mahmudullah led a recovery of sorts, and then Mosaddek Hossain gave the innings some late impetus with an unbeaten 48, but their final total of 127/7 never looked like being competitive enough.
Mujeeb-ur-Rahman had another fine match with the ball, taking 3 – 16, whilst fellow spinner Rashid Khan claimed 3 – 22.
This time Gurbaz fell early, but Hazratullah and Zadran put on 30, for the second wicket and, after two wickets went cheaply, Zadran and his namesake Najbullah combined in an unbeaten stand of 69 as Afghanistan cruised to victory in the 19th over, with seven wickets still standing. Ibrahim was unbeaten on 42, whilst Najbullah was 43 not out.
Sri Lanka – Bangladesh match recap
This game produced a tight finish in Dubai, where Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to field first.
Bangladesh scored steadily, but with Sri Lanka taking regular wickets they struggled to build up momentum, and they relied on their middle order, led by Afif Hossain, to post a competitive score, and he only top scored with 39.
Wanindu Hasaranga and Chamika Karunaratne both took two wickets each as the Bangladesh side were restricted to 183/7 from their 20 overs.
The Sri Lankan opening pair of Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis got Sri Lanka off to a reasonable start in their replay, and, although they then lost a clutch of wickets, Mendis held the innings together making 60 from 37 balls, including 3 sixes.
And then it was left to Dasun Shanaka to pick up the baton and guide his team towards victory with an innings of 45 that contained two sixes. When he was dismissed in the 18th over, there was still work to do, but the tail-enders got the job done, and their team won with two wickets and four balls to spare.
What happens next
Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will play again in the first match of the Super Four stage of the competition on Saturday in Sharjah. India meanwhile, await the winners of the Pakistan – Hong Kong match, with the probability that they will once again meet their old foe Pakistan, just a week after their last match in Dubai.
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