Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by 129 runs as the Lankans cruised into the finals of the Asia cup on Monday. After a good start given by Azghar Stanikzai and Noor Ali Zadran, the Afghani team lost their way after the power play overs and ultimately collapsed for a total of 124 runs. The Sri Lankan bowlers bowled as a unit and everyone except Malinga picked up wickets. The star performer though was Thisara Perrera who picked up important wickets at the top and also scored some runs at the end of the Lankan innings. Let’s take a look at the top 5 performances of the match.
Kumara Sangakara: the veteran southpaw has been on a run scoring spree over the past year or so, which even don Bradman would envy. He continued his good form here as well and scored 76 crucial runs denying the Afghani bowlers and further success in the middle overs.
Angelo Matthews: Sri Lanka’s captain proved his worth in the final stages of the game and scored some quick runs, making sure that Sri Lanka reach a respectable total which the bowler’s could defend. He also captained his team well and managed the bowlers in a way that the Afghani batsmen couldn’t settle down on the crease.
Thisara Perrera: Perrera showed his worth as an all-rounder to the Lankan team as he scored runs with the bat when it mattered and also picked up wickets at the top. He picked up the important wickets of Azghar Stanikzai and Nowroz Mangal and ultimately ended up with figures of 3/32.
Ajantha Mendis: Mendis bowled well for the second time in two games and picked up wickets while giving away next to nothing in terms of runs. He picked up 3 wickets in 7 overs giving away just 11 runs. Now that Sri Lanka is in the finals he has a very important role to play in the finals as well.
Mohammad Nabi: Nabi was the only notable performer for the Afghani team in this match. He bowled well, made runs and also led the team exceptionally well against another test playing nation. The Afghanistan team can go a long way under his captaincy if he is persisted with.
This might just be the end of the tremendous journey of the Afghani team in this Asia cup, but they have impressed many with their gritty and fearless play in the tournament. Even though the match eventually turned out to be a one sided affair, for at least the first part of the game it kept things interesting. Hopefully this is not the end of this promising Afghani team and we will see the same kind of performance from them in the upcoming ICC tournaments as well.