After deciding to bat, Sri Lanka had a successful opening stand, hitting 62 runs from the first power play without losing a single wicket. The breakthrough came from Gulbadin Naib, who scalped the wicket of both the openers.
Nissanka clipped the ball directly to backward point while Karunaratne was tricked by a slower ball. Samarawickrama was also removed by him during the same spell, which enabled Sri Lanka go from 63/0 through to 86/3. In order to stabilize the ship, Mendis as well as Asalanka joined forces. For the fourth wicket, they put up a 102-run partnership, with the former appearing to be in excellent form.
In his first 4 overs, Rashid Khan, who entered the game only during the 21st over, allowed 31 runs. But he returned to end the partnership. Mendis’ bad luck in not getting a tonne coincided with Shanaka’s fall in the same over. They managed to add 64 runs at 227/7 to bring their team’s total to 291 after 50 overs.
Sri Lanka clinch the win by the barest of margins
Afghanistan, who needed 37.1 overs to reach the score, lost both of the team’s openers very cheaply. With a brief appearance, Gulbadin, who came to bat at three, established the much needed tone. Rahmat Shah batted with ease until being dismissed after a 45 run effort.
The seasoned Nabi entered at 121/4 and needed some time to get going, but once he started rolling, it was difficult to stop him. The 38-year-old all-rounder attacked the Lankan spinners and smashed a 24-ball fifty, the quickest fifty by an Afghan batter.
Theekshana removed Nabi to end the 80-run stand as SL was under extreme strain. In the 32nd over of his superb bowling, Wellalage removed both Janat and half-centurion Shahidi. Rashid gave some hope by hitting three boundaries, putting his team within one hit from the Super 4s. Afghanistan ultimately surrendered despite still having a chance when Dhananjaya dismissed Mujeeb, but they still stood a chance, which they probably were unaware about.
Fans react to Afghanistan losing to Sri Lanka by 2 runs during Asia Cup 2023:
Sri Lanka defeated Afghanistan by just 2 runs!
One of the greatest ever games in history – Afghanistan should be proud of their effort. They gave their all to qualify. Feel for Rashid Khan and Nabi…!!! pic.twitter.com/eINYt4sxr7
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) September 5, 2023
— ? (@Hustler4CSK) September 5, 2023
— Satya Prakash (@Satya_Prakash08) September 5, 2023
Iss Asia cup ka best match ?
— Atul (@dikhhat_hai_) September 5, 2023
Considering the fact that Mujeeb ur Rahman can bat well as we have seen this before. Rashid Khan should have rotated the strike and the result would have been different.
— ???? ???? ? (@THORthayaar) September 5, 2023
What was the last batsman was doing ?
— Amrit Chandravanshi (@Ek_Indian07) September 5, 2023
If you still think batting depth is useless, you should stop watching cricket
— The Cricket Statistician (@CricketSatire) September 5, 2023
What the hell…!!
Afghanistan did not knew they can still qualify after 37.1 overs.
— Classic Mojito (@classic_mojito) September 5, 2023
Salute to Afghanistan team pic.twitter.com/N4Z2AxA3sm
— Pawan Shukla (@Shukla8175) September 5, 2023
Nabi Efforts Deserve Better Result Tbh ?
— Aufridi Chumtya (@ShuhidAufridi) September 5, 2023
Afghanistan won heart ??
— TROLL PAKISTAN CRICKET (@trollpakistanii) September 5, 2023
Afghanistan played entertaining cricket ? lost the game but won hearts.
— Wicket Whisper (@WicketWhisper) September 5, 2023
Afghanistan management is pathetic, they were not aware of the qualification scenario. Shame !
— Sohel. (@SohelVkf) September 5, 2023
The biggest question is why didn't they send him to bat an number 8? They were at a really good position at that point.
— Shahzeb Khan (@theshahzebkhan) September 5, 2023
They should fire their data analyst if they have any
— Garv (?????) (@imgarvmalik) September 5, 2023