Sri Lanka won the 2-1 ODI series in Hambantota on Wednesday thanks to Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka’s nine-wicket win against Afghanistan.
Sri Lanka easily reached 120 runs with 34 overs to spare. Dushmantha Chameera’s man-of-the-match performance led Sri Lanka’s fast bowlers to a dominating performance. Their continuous bombardment shattered the Afghan high hierarchy, leaving them powerless.
Sri Lanka needs this convincing win to prepare for a qualifying event in Zimbabwe. The tournament’s two World Cup spots are important.
Afghanistan are already in the World Cup in India, but skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi lamented “a bad day for our batters”.
“Too many wickets put us under pressure,”
“I still think batting first was a good idea, but we lost too many wickets early on and lost momentum.”
Nissanka scored his seventh ODI half-century in 32 balls with eight fours and two sixes to start the chase.
After an 84-run opening partnership, Gulbadin Naib trapped him leg before on 51.
In his first ODI series in over two years, opener Karunaratne hit 56 not out to help Sri Lanka reach the mark without losing another wicket.
His eighth format half-century came off 45 balls with seven boundaries.
Sri Lanka won in 16 overs with Kusal Mendis undefeated on 11.
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat, but Chameera’s two blistering spells prevented the tourists from forming a strong combination.
Chameera, playing his first series following ankle surgery, was man-of-the-match with 4-63.
We had to strategize today since the wicket was sluggish. “The bowlers supported me,” he remarked.
“It’s important to keep things tight and when you do that, batsmen take risks, and there are more chances for you to pick up wickets.”
The Afghans were bowled out for 116 by leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga and fast Lahiru Kumara.
Afghanistan won the first game easily by six wickets, while Sri Lanka won the second game by 132 runs.