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Nissanka 210* outplays Omarzai, Nabi tons as Sri Lanka win first ODI against Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: February 10, 2024)

Pathum Nissanka’s historic double ton ensured Sri Lanka withstood a spirited Afghanistan counterattack to record a 42-run victory in the first ODI at Pallekele and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Set a stiff target of 382, Afghanistan reached 339 for six as Mohammad Nabi and Azmatullah Omarzai scored centuries after their team were reduced to 55-5, AFP reported.

Nissanka’s unbeaten 210 was Sri Lanka’s first ODI double hundred, breaking the island nation’s longstanding record highest score of 189 by Sanath Jayasuriya against India in 2000.

It was also the joint fifth-highest individual score in ODIs.

“We are absolutely thrilled with that performance,” Sri Lankan seamer Pramod Madushan told reporters.

“Great to be part of the dressing room in such an historic moment.

“It was tough out there but Pathum did well to soak up all the pressure and put us on top.”

Sri Lanka’s 381-3 was also their biggest total at the ground and the team’s fourth-highest overall.

The unstoppable Nissanka’s knock included 20 fours and eight sixes from the 139 balls he faced in his first ODI since the World Cup.

Afghanistan stumbled early in their daunting chase, with the tourists losing five wickets inside nine overs.

Madushan cut through the top order for match figures of 4-75.

Dushmantha Chameera took the other two wickets to fall but walked off the field halfway through his eighth over, appearing to be suffering from back pain.

Omarzai (149 not out) and Nabi (136) fought back aggressively with a 242-run stand for the sixth wicket, Afghanistan’s second-highest for any wicket in ODIs, to briefly give Sri Lanka a fright.

Omarzai’s maiden hundred came from a flicked six off pacer Janith Liyanage.

Sri Lanka’s innings saw Avishka Fernando score 88 from as many deliveries before he was caught by Ibrahim Zadran at backward point in the 27th over.

Skipper Kusal Mendis was next in but failed to make an impact and fell for a 31-ball 16.

Sadeera Samarawickrama hit 44 off 36 deliveries in his 120-run partnership with Nissanka.

 

Sport

Head of Sports Administration attends opening ceremony of Kazan’s ‘Games of Future’

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

The General Director of Physical Education and Sport of Afghanistan (GDPES) Mawlavi Ahmadullah Wasiq participated in the opening ceremony of the Games of Future competition hosted by Tatarstan-Kazan.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Wasiq also met with the Ministers of Sports of Russia and Tatarstan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials also participated in the opening ceremony, GDPES said in a post on X.

According to GDPES the competition started on February 21 and will continue until March 3.

Nearly 2,000 athletes from 107 countries will take part in the games and will compete in 21 sports.

The Next Generation Sports competition is a new series of sports competitions, which for the first time officially starts in Kazan.

The combination of these sports includes digital and classical sports, GDPES said.

Putin said during his opening speech that sport is meant to create unity between countries and nations and should not become political.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Wasiq meanwhile met with the minister of sports of Russia, Oleg Matisin, and the minister of sports of Tatarstan, Vladimir Leonov.

Cooperation in sport and sport development was discussed.

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Afghanistan win three-run thriller, but Sri Lanka take T20 series

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

Afghanistan salvaged some pride on Wednesday when they secured a nail-biting three-run win over hosts Sri Lanka in the third T20I, the last game of their multi-format tour.

It has been a wretched tour for the Afghans — losing six matches in a row — but skipper Ibrahim Zadran said he was “feeling great” after his team held their nerve in a dramatic close with a hard-fought win.

“I am happy with the win,” Zadran said. “Unfortunately, we lost the series.”

Sri Lanka had already secured the three-match T20 series after winning the first two games, the first by four runs, and the second by 72 runs.

They had also won the one-off Test match and the one-day international series in a 3-0 clean sweep.

But Afghanistan seemed determined to win at least one match.

‘Under pressure’

Sri Lanka required 36 off the last two overs, with Dasun Shanaka bringing the chase down to 24 off eight balls — but was run out.

That left Sri Lanka with 19 runs needed off the last over.

But they could manage only 15, with the game marred by controversy as tensions spiked in the last six balls.

The fourth ball from Wafadar Momand was a high full toss, but the square leg umpire didn’t call a no ball despite batters’ protests.

Captain Wanindu Hasaranga was seen exchanging words with the umpires.

“We played good cricket in the first two games,” Hasaranga said.

“Credit goes to our bowlers and the batters”.

Fighting to the end, Kamindu Mendis hit a six off the last ball of the innings, but it was not enough and Sri Lanka fell short by three runs.

Mendis was unbeaten on 65 off 39 balls, with seven fours and two sixes, achieving his maiden half-century in T20 cricket.

On a pitch tailor-made for batting, giving little room for error for the bowlers, Sri Lanka’s openers gave them a rousing start adding 64 runs in 35 balls.

The partnership was broken when Kusal Mendis attempted a boundary on the off-side but failed to clear the extra cover fielder where Sharafuddin Ashraf back-peddled and took a good catch.

In the process, the fielder banged his head onto the turf.

Ashraf was replaced as the concussion substitute rule came into effect and leg-spinner Qais Ahmad took his place.

Afghanistan took two wickets in three balls when Noor Ahmad trapped Kusal Perera leg before wicket for a duck.

Pathum Nissanka posted his tenth T20 half-century, off 27 balls, but soon after hurt his hamstring and his movements were restricted.

He moved to 60 with a six off Noor Ahmad and retired soon afterwards. He faced 30 balls and hit eight fours and two sixes.

Afghanistan’s big total was thanks to the efforts of their openers, posting 88 runs off 44 balls.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz went on to make 70 after being dropped twice.

“I was under pressure but I tried to go in today and play my natural game,” Gurbaz said. “I took responsibility and I think that was the reason.”

Sri Lanka battled back with Matheesha Pathirana claiming two wickets in two balls, but it was not enough to stop Afghanistan from scoring over 200 runs. – AFP

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Afghanistan, Sri Lanka set for 3rd and final T20I

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(Last Updated On: February 21, 2024)

The third and final game of the T20I series between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will be played on Wednesday, February 21, at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.

This is also the final match in Afghanistan’s tour of Sri Lanka, which included a one-off Test, three ODIs and the T20I series.

So far, Sri Lanka have taken the lead 2-0 in the T20I series.

Afghanistan have failed to win a single game on this tour so far and will be hoping to finish on a winning note.

Sri Lanka have a clear edge over Afghanistan when their head-to-head record in the shortest format is considered. The Lankans have won five games as opposed to one for Afghanistan in their six meetings so far.

Matches played: 6

Sri Lanka won: 5

Afghanistan won: 1

Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Pitch Report

The surface at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium looks a good one to bat on. There will be plenty of runs on offer for batters once they get their eye in. The pacers can use slower deliveries while bowling on this deck as it has been effective as seen in the series so far.

Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Weather Forecast

Clear skies will greet both sides on Wednesday. The temperature in Dambulla is expected to range between 22 and 33 degrees Celsius.
Watch the match live!

Ariana Television Network will broadcast Wednesday’s match live on Ariana Television from 6pm.

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