A strong Sri Lanka A team, so far unbeaten in the 4 nation tournament, took on spirited Afghanistan at the P. Sara Oval yesterday.
Afghanistan, highly charged from their recent impressive Test victory over the Irish in Dambulla, certainly looked to repeat their success on the shorter format too. They were by no means intimidated by the big boys of Sri Lanka-A.
Afghanistan won the toss and opted to field first. Sri Lankans put up a fairly decent total of 314 runs in 50 overs, losing 7 wickets.
Opener Tharanga Paranavithana repeated the 77 he scored in the previous match against Afghanistan. He was assisted ably by the youngster from SSC Dimuth Madushanka Karunaratne. Dimuth scored 42 runs and the pair put on the highest partnership of the match, 91 runs.
After chipping in with 33 runs, Kaushal Silva was unlucky to get run out. So was Jeevan Mendis who scored a swift 40 runs. Gihan Rupasinghe bowled out for a duck by Ashraf.
Chinthaka Jayasinghe too was useful with the 33 runs scored from 33 balls.
Confirming the old adage, “there’s nothing like a love of a good woman”, we now have newly refreshed and relatively newly wed Farveez Maharoof getting down to some serious action with the bat.Maharoof scored an impressive 40 runs from just 21 balls, including 3 sixes, Farveez Maharoof reaffirmed his all rounder status from pre-injury and the pre-Angelo Matthews days.
Perhaps the national team selectors should make note of the recent performance of genuine hard grafter and former holder of the “all rounder” title, Farveez Maharoof.
Afghanistan, seemingly not daunted by a total of 314 replied in their customary spirited manner. They got off to a very good start, at one stage the scored stood at 105/1. Up until the 20th over, they were neck to neck in the run rate stake with Sri-lanka, giving me the jitters.
Chinthaka Jayasinghe got the first break through for Sri Lanka, getting rid of Noor Ali who was on 26.
Karim Sadiq proved a bit of a hard nut to crack. Sadiq scored a brilliant 69 which included 8 boundaries and 3 sixes. Of course, not hard enough for Nuwan Pradeep Fernando who continued his bowling success. He helped himself to 4 wickets against Afghanistan. Nuwan Pradeep didn’t hang about, bowling out Ahamadzai next, not giving him a chance to settle.
13 certainly was the unlucky number for Afghanistan captain Nowroz Mangal but lucky for some. Off spinner Satchithra Senanayake who also had a good spell in bowling (3 wickets in total), got Afghanistan captain who was on 13 out of the way. Isuru Udana lent him a hand by taking a catch.
It was down to Sri Lanka Cricket’s “wide boy” Isuru Udana and the nifty work of captain Kaushal Silva, that danger man, Afghanistan wicket keeper Mohammad Shahzad was removed. At the time Shahzad was looking far too comfortable for my liking, having scored 80 runs in 74 balls, including 4 sixes!!!
This started the Afghanistan downward spiral.
Going on to further demonstrate his excellent work behind the wicket by aiding the dismissals of Shenwari and Ashraf, Kaushal Silva is beginning to justify the comparison been made between this pleasant and talented young man and legendary “Kalu” in last weeks “Colombo Spirit”.
Well done Kaushal and well done Sri Lanka A team.
Afghanistan, you fought well. Better luck in the next game.
The next game will be on tomorrow (between Afghanistan and Canada) at SSC.
Sri Lanka will be playing Afghanistan again on the 3rd of February at the SSC.
For those of you in Sri Lanka, if you have time, please make the effort to go support the team. It will no doubt be a thrilling game.