Afghanistan boosted by Ireland warm-up victory
Bridgetown: Afghanistan cruised to a five-wicket win over Ireland in their World Twenty20 warm-up, showing that they are ready for their world championship debut.
Ireland made 133-9 off their 20 overs with John Mooney top-scoring with 42 but debutant seamer Dawlat Ahmadzai grabbed the headlines with 4-15 before Afghanistan reached their target with three balls to spare in Guyana yesterday.
When they batted, Afghanistan showed their all-round mettle with Ashghar Stanikzai and Mohammad Nabi adding 66 for the fifth wicket in six overs.
"Any team wants a jump start, no matter who you are playing against," said Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan.
"Ireland are one of the best Associate teams and as a coach the promising thing is that the boys are fighting hard and they are coming back into games which is not very easy in Twenty20."
Afghanistan begin their World Twenty20 campaign on Saturday against India.
A fine unbeaten 61 from Chamara Kapugedera was in vain as Sri Lanka slumped to a five-wicket defeat to South Africa with three balls to spare in Barbados.
Kapugedera and veteran Sanath Jayasuriya helped Sri Lanka post 137 for 8 before a 61-run partnership between Mark Boucher and Johan Botha allowed South Africa to squeeze home in the final over.
Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara opted to bat first after winning the toss at the Kensington Oval but Tillakaratne Dilshan fell first ball to Rory Kleinveldt.
Charl Langeveldt then struck twice to remove Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene as Sri Lanka slipped to 22 for 3.
Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Matthews soon followed as Sri Lanka, runners-up to Pakistan in the 2009 Twenty20 final, collapsed to 42 for 5 in the ninth over.
But Jayasuriya (33) helped steady the ship before Kapugedera gave his side a fighting chance with three fours and five sixes.
South African skipper Graeme Smith was dismissed by Nuwan Kulasekara in the first over for one befor Loots Bosman hit a quick 20.
Botha and Boucher put South Africa on their way, scoring at more than 11 runs an over.
At the same venue, England eased past Bangladesh by seven wickets.
Bangladesh were limited to 126-7 with slow left-armer Michael Yardy taking 3-20 before Ravi Bopara hit 62 from 48 balls to steer England to victory in the 18th over.
West Indies lost by seven runs to New Zealand in a warm-up later in Guyana.