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Sri Lanka Square ODI Series Over Afghanistan

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Sri Lanka Square ODI Series Over Afghanistan

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Dushmantha Chameera’s triumphant return to the Sri Lankan cricket team proved to be the catalyst for their impressive 132-run victory over Afghanistan in the second one-day international at Hambantota on Sunday. Chameera, who had been sidelined for seven months due to an ankle surgery, made a resounding impact by delivering two hostile spells and finishing with figures of 2 for 18. This win allowed Sri Lanka to level the three-match series and provided a much-needed boost as they prepare to face Zimbabwe in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Skipper Dasun Shanaka expressed his delight at Chameera’s return, stating, “We are very happy that Chameera is back: injury kept him out for a while but I am glad he is firing on all cylinders.” Shanaka also highlighted the return of experienced batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, who adds stability to the batting lineup. These developments bode well for Sri Lanka’s prospects in the World Cup qualifiers.

In contrast to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan has already secured their place in the World Cup, eliminating any pressure associated with the qualification process. However, their performance in this match was below par, as they struggled to chase down Sri Lanka’s imposing target of 324. The Afghan batsmen succumbed to the Sri Lankan bowling attack and were bowled out for 191 in just 43 overs.

Chameera’s bowling brilliance was complemented by the part-time off-spin of Dhananjaya de Silva, who claimed three crucial wickets, including that of Ibrahim Zardan, the hero of the first ODI. Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga also contributed with three wickets, dismantling Afghanistan’s lower order.


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Zardan, who had been instrumental in Afghanistan’s previous victory with a score of 98, once again showcased his batting prowess by contributing 54 runs. However, the pressure of the target got to him, resulting in an edge that was expertly caught by Kusal Mendis behind the stumps. Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi top-scored with 57 runs before being dismissed leg before wicket by de Silva. Following Shahidi’s dismissal, the Afghan batting lineup collapsed, losing six wickets for just 23 runs.

Reflecting on the team’s performance, Shahidi admitted, “I don’t think that was our best performance, we were a bit sloppy on the field.” He expressed his team’s determination to bounce back in the third and final ODI.

Prior to the match, Sri Lanka made four changes to their lineup after losing the first ODI by six wickets. The opening partnership of Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka laid a solid foundation, amassing 82 runs for the first wicket. Karunaratne, making a comeback, showcased his skill by scoring 52 off 62 balls. Kusal Mendis then took charge and unleashed a blistering counter-attack, smashing 78 runs off just 75 deliveries, including seven fours and one six.

The partnership between Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama, playing his first ODI in over three years, injected much-needed momentum into the Sri Lankan innings. The pair accumulated 88 runs in 86 balls, propelling the team’s total to 323. The lower middle order played a crucial role in this regard, contributing 109 runs in the last ten overs. Fareed Ahmad and Mohammad Nabi were the standout bowlers for Afghanistan, claiming two wickets each.

The stage is now set for the third and final ODI between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, which will be held on June 7 at Hambantota. Both teams will be eager to seize the opportunity to claim victory in the series and build momentum heading into their respective future engagements. Sri Lanka will be looking to carry forward the confidence gained from their comprehensive win, while Afghanistan will be determined to bounce back and end the series on a high note.


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