Sri Lanka have won their first World Cup match by beating resilient Afghanistan by four wickets, in a thriller. The minnows have once again proved their mettle with both bat and ball. But a well made hundred by veteran player Mahela Jayawardene and whirlwind cameo by Thisara Perera (47 off 26) helped Lanka to cross the line with ten ball to spare. Heartening performance by Afghanistan bowlers as they put SL under immense pressure even while defending a small total of 232. Mahela has been given the Man of the Match award for his hundred.
Sri Lanka Innings
Over 48.2 || Score 236/6
Thisara Perera's cameo (47 off 26) helped Sri Lanka to beat minnows Afghanistan by four wickets in a tight contest with ten balls to spare. Another outstanding performance by the minnows in the World Cup.
Over 47 || Score 219/6
Jeevan Mendis and Thisara Perera are in the middle. Perera is playing a blinder here. He has reached to 33 off 20 balls with the help of four boundaries and a six. Can he lead his side to victory today? 14 runs required from 18 balls.
Over 45 || Score 197/6
What a thriller it has turning out to be. Both the set batsmen -- Mahela and Mathews -- are back in the hut. Immediately after completing his hundred Mahela lost his concentration and gave away his wicket. And with that Afghanistan are back in the match. Now the equation has gone down to 36 runs off 30 balls and SL have four wickets in hand.
DPMD Jayawardene c Nawroz Mangal b Hamid Hassan 100 (120b)
AD Mathews run out 44 (81b)
Over 40 || Score 175/4
Grip of Afghanistan on the match is loosing as the match is slipping away from them. Duo of Mahela-Mathews have already added 124 runs for the fifth wicket. Afghan skipper is now running short of ideas. Meanwhile, Mahela is just two runs shy of his hundred. What is knock he has been playing for his team. SL now required 58 runs off 60 balls.
Over 35 || Score 147/4
Mirwais Ashraf and Mohammad Nabi are bowling in tandem for the minnows. Mathews is doing the right thing by taking a single and giving more strike to senior pro Mehela, who is looking is good nick. It can still be anyone's game as SL required 86 runs off last 15 overs. Afghanistan have to break this partnership to put some pressure back on the batting side.
Over 30 || Score 128/4
In the 26th over Jayawardene played Shenwari for a single off his second ball to complete his fifty. After reaching the land mark, Mehela has started playing a free-flowing game. In the 30th over by Shenwari he smashed two consecutive boundaries to collect 11 runs from the over. Pair of Mehela and Mathews have added 77 runs for the fourth wicket.
Over 25 || Score 94/4
Mahela and Mathews are playing sensible cricket. Both are well aware of the fact that if they lose one more wicket here, they will be in deep trouble. Mahela is mere one run shy of his fifty. Only one boundary has been come in the last five overs as SL added 18 runs to their total. Afghanistan have to break this partnership, otherwise the duo in the middle can take the game away from them.
Over 20 || Score 76/4
Double bowling change. Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari have been introduced into the attack for the very first time. All the Afghan bowlers have shown impeccable discipline thus far. Mahela and Mathews have to work hard to get SL out of this tricky situation. Time for Mathews to lead the side from the front.
Over 15 || Score 59/4
Hamid Hassan picks up his second wicket, Karunaratne walks back. The southpaw tried to steer the ball towards third man, found a thick outside edge and after fumbling the ball at first slip Mangal eventually completed catch. Skipper Angelo Mathews is the new man in. Lankan's are in deep trouble. Is another World Cup upset on the cards? Meanwhile, SL crossed the 50-run mark.
FDM Karunaratne c Nawroz Mangal b Hamid Hassan 23 (32b)
Over 10 || Score 35/3
Jayawardene and Karunaratne have to stitch a big partnership here. Both the batsmen are struggling at the moment to play the Afghan seamers as they are bowling on right channels. 12 runs have been scored in the last four overs. Minnows are dominating the proceedings.
Over 6 || Score 23/3
Hamid Hassan strikes, Sangakkara Out! Big big blow for Lanka. Hassan produced a beauty to break through the defense of Sanga. And the speedster is delighted and has all the reasons for that. Afghan's are right at the top of the game. After losing three wickets in quick succession Mahela Jayawardene and Dimuth Karunaratne have come to the middle for Lanka.
KC Sangakkara b Hamid Hassan 7 (13b)
This is only the second time in ODI history that both openers have been dismissed for a golden duck.
Over 2 || Score 4/2
Double blow Lanka. Excellent start by Afghan strike bowlers as they sent both the openers back in the hut inside the first two overs, while defending a small total of 232. Dawlat Zadran struck off the first ball of the innings as he trapped Thirimanne in front of the wicket. And in the very next over Shapoor Zadran produced a thick edge from the bat of Dilshan as the ball disappeared into wicketkeeper's gloves. Afghanistan couldn't have ask for a better start than this.
TM Dilshan c Afsar Zazai b Shapoor Zadran 0 (1b)
HDRL Thirimanne lbw b Dawlat Zadran 0 (1b)
Over 49.4 || Score 232/6
37 runs have been scored by Afghanistan in the last five overs to put up a decent total in front of Sri Lanka. Overall, it was a an excellent performance by the minnows top order, as at one stage they were heading towards a total of around 250. But some poor shots and outstanding bowling by SL in the last fifteen overs restricted them to 232. Asghar Stanikzai fifty was the highlighter of the innings.
Afsar Zazai c Herath b Malinga 19 (38b)
Mirwais Ashraf c Lakmal b Malinga 28 (32b)
Dawlat Zadran b Mathews 4 (5b)
Hamid Hassan c Mendis b Mathews 0 (1b)
Over 45 || Score 195/6
Afghanistan batsmen -- Afsar Zazai and Mirwais Ashraf -- are finding it difficult to score runs freely. Even they are struggling to deal in singles and doubles at the moment. Perera, Mathews and Lakmal haven't really offered much room for the batsmen to free their arms. Mere 16 runs have come in the last five overs. Super comeback by Sri Lankan bowlers. In the last five overs of the innings Afghanistan will look to score at least 40 runs to put up a tricky total in front of Sri Lanka.
Over 40 || Score 179/6
Batting Powerplay. At a time when Afghanistan batsmen should have utilised the platform provided by their top order to accelerate their run-rate a bit, they lost a couple a wickets. Nabi's brief innings came to an end when Sri Lanka's spearhead, Malinga, got the better of him. Then in the 39th over Lakmal picked up his second wicket by dismissing Zardan. SL conceded ten runs in the five overs of batting powerplay and picked up two wickets to get back into the match.
Najibullah Zadran c Perera b Lakmal 10 (15b)
Mohammad Nabi b Malinga 21 (27b)
Over 35 || Score 169/4
Shenwari Out! Perera picked up his first wicket as Shenwari gave a simple catch to mid-off fielder. A sensible knock by the right-hander. On the other hand, Nabi is cracking boundaries and sixes at will. In the 33rd over by Perera, Nabi first smashed the bowler through extra covers for 4 and then clobbered him over mid-wicket for a maximum. Najibullah Zadran is the new man in and he launched spinner Herath for six over deep-midwicket in the 34th over. Sri Lankan bowling hasn't looked impressive thus far. Meanwhile, Afghan's have crossed the 150-run mark as well.
Samiullah Shenwari c Mathews b Perera 38 (70b)
Over 30 || Score 140/3
After completing his fifty in style, by slapping a boundary of Hearth in the 26th over, Stanikzai lost his concentration. And in trying to charge the bowler one more time over deep mid-wicket he gave a simple catch to Mendis near the boundary rope. Mohammad Nabi is the new man in for Afghanistan after the fall of their third wicket. Nabi collected his first boundary off the fourth ball he faced by sweeping Mendis towards backward square. 23 runs have come in the last five overs. Afghanistan are still going strong.
Asghar Stanikzai c Mendis b Herath 54 (57b)
Over 25 || Score 117/2
Shenwari and Stanikzai have added 70-runs for the third wicket. Meanwhile, Afghanistan have crossed the 100-run mark as well. 22nd over by Mathews was quite expensive as he leaked 13 from it. Four boundaries have been hit in between as both the batsmen hit two each. Outstanding batting display by Afghanistan. Stanikzai is just four runs shot his fifty.
Over 20 || Score 86/2
Skipper Mathews introduced his premier spinner Rangana Herath in the 17th over. Though Parera and Herath have been successful, thus far, to put some breaks on scoring, Stanikzai added to more boundaries to his account. He is looking confident and smashing the ball hard. 19 runs have come in the last five overs.
Over 15 || Score 67/2
Shenwari and Stanikzai are playing sensible cricket in the middle. In the 14 over by Perera, Shenwari collected two boundaries -- one through mid-on and the other towards extra covers. 17 runs off the last three overs.
Over 12 || Score 50/2
Stanikzai clobbered Mathews for a six over mid-wicket off the first ball of the 11th over. He has quickly moved to 11 off 7. Ball is not doing much and short boundaries might help Afghanistan batsmen to put up a challenging total in front of Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, Afghan's have crossed the 50-run mark.
Over 10 || Score 40/2
First bowling change worked for Sri Lanka straight away as skipper Angelo Mathews provided SL their first breakthrough in the form of Mangal, who got out after scoring ten runs. And in the next over, Lakmal picked up his first wicket as he sent dangerous looking opener Ahmadi back to the pavilion. But before getting out Ahmadi did hit four boundaries to score 24 off 23 balls. Samiullah Shenwari and Asghar Stanikzai are the new batsmen in for Afghanistan.
Javed Ahmadi c Herath b Lakmal 24 (23b)
Nawroz Mangal c Thirimanne b Mathews 10 (30b)
Over 5 || Score 15/0
Javed hits the first boundary of the match with the help of an outside edge in the 5th over. Off the next ball he gets his second boundary by slapping the ball through covers for four. 13 runs off the last two overs. Watchful start by Afghanistan.
Over 3 || Score 2/0
Sri Lankan strike bowlers have picked up the line and length quite early in the innings. And they are not offering any room what so ever for the Afghans. A good start by Sri Lanka. But they are still hunting for their first breakthrough.
Nawroz Mangal and Javed Ahmadi are opening the innings for minnows, while Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal are bowling with the new balls.
Sri Lanka have won the toss and will bowl first.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (captain), Afsar Zazai (wk), Aftab Alam, Asghar Stanekzai, Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Javed Ahmadi, Merwais Ashraf, Najibullah Zadran, Nasir Jamal, Nawroz Mangal, Samiullah Shinwari, Shapoor Zadran, Usman Ghani.
Outplayed in their opening match, former champions Sri Lanka would look to put their campaign back on track but debutantes Afghanistan would aim to surprise them in their second pool A match of the cricket World Cup here on Sunday.
Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions, lost by 98 runs to co-hosts New Zealand in their opening match, an unexpected result for one of the strong contenders among the Asian nations.
Afghanistan were also beaten in their lung-opener, against Bangladesh, which was not much of a surprise for the World Cup greenhorns even though they did show some spirit in at least their bowling.
A loss for either side would severely dent their chances of advancing to the knockout rounds. Perhaps aware of the enormity of the situation, Sri Lanka have decided against resting any big name despite playing a perceived minnow.