Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka to storm into semi-final | Daily News
ICC Under 19 World Cup:

Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka to storm into semi-final

Afghanistan cricketers celebrating a wicket-Vinuja Ranpul's 5 for 10 in vain for Sri Lanka.
Afghanistan cricketers celebrating a wicket-Vinuja Ranpul's 5 for 10 in vain for Sri Lanka.

Afghanistan produced a sensational fight-back to edge a thrilling four-run win over Sri Lanka at the ICC under 19 World Cup quarter-final game which was played at Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua yesterday. Sri Lanka was the favourites to win the game with an unbeaten record in their Group ‘D’, but a Group ‘C’ second-placed Afghanistan made a superb display to ensure their place in the semi-final. They will now face England in the first Super League semi-final at the Sir Viv Richards Cricket Ground on February 1.

Sri Lanka’s poor running between the wickets cost them the game as they conceded 4 run outs, handing the spot in the semis to Afghanistan despite the target being only 135 and the Afghans bowling 32 wides, but superb performance with the ball aided by crisp fielding helped Afghanistan to seal the victory with four overs to spare.

Skipper Dunith Wellalage elected to field first after winning the toss while Afghanistan openers Nangeyalia Kharote and Bilal Sayedi looked solid for the opening ten overs before off-spinner Traveeen Mathew struck with a wicked delivery that removed Sayedi. Kharote in the 11th over and paceman Vinuja Ranpul who replaced for injured Matheesha Pathirana took his first wicket of Kharote departed in the very next over, When skipper Suliman Safi was trapped LBW after making just one Ranpul was picked his second wicket to depart in-form skipper Safi. In the same over, Ranpul once again struck to take Ijaz Ahmadzai's wicket without addition to the total and they were 26 for 4 wickets at that stage (13.4over).

The left hander Abdul Hadi was able to steady the innings with a crucial knock. Most importantly he came to the crease with his team struggling, but he managed to make 37, including four boundaries also added a 47-run fifth-wicket stand with Allah Noor who scored 25 in 58 balls while Skipper Wellalage made a breakthrough to depart Allah Noor. Hadi together with Noor Ahmad once again made a fighting 48 runs for the seventh wicket while Ahmad who was in a very aggressive mood to score 30 in 33 balls struck four sixes to increase their total. However, Vinjua Ranpul then helped clear out the tail for Sri Lanka, ending with a five-wicket haul at the expense of just ten runs with three maidens the most economical bowling figures in his first match of the tournament to restrict Afghanistan were for just 134 all out in 47.1 overs. Skipper Dunith Wellalage made a good supporting role finishing with 3 for 36 in his ten-over spell to tally the highest 16 wickets so far in this tournament. The off-spinner Treveen Mathew also bowled well to finish a very tidy spell of 1 for 13 in his ten overs with four maidens.

Sri Lanka cased a target of 135 but it was never easy with Afghanistan pace duo Bilal Sami and Naveed Zadran making good challenge from the beginning. The Opener Sadisha Rajapaksa got out off a first-ball duck in the opening over bowled by Sami, and his replacement Shevon Daniel went for just 2 after he was clean bowled by Sami to make an early breakthrough. Sakuna Liyanage was, unfortunately, was run out as miscommunication with Chamindu Wickramasinghe and after 10 overs Sri Lanka were able to get only 20 runs without adding any boundary. After 13 overs, Sri Lanka were in a worse position than Afghanistan were during their innings. The wrist-spinner Nor Ahmed then produced a cracking delivery to remove Ranuda Somarathne and put Sri Lanka in real trouble with 30 for 5 wickets. Two back to back run outs Opener Chamindu Wickramasinghe (16 in 53 balls) and Yasiru Rodrigo who was promoted to bat at number 7 scoring 2 in 9 balls made Sri Lanka reeling 43 for 7 wickets which they never expected.

However, the eighth-wicket partnership between captain Wellalage and Raveen de Silva looked like it might save the day, taking Sri Lanka from 43 runs for seven to 112. Ravin hit the first boundary of the innings during the 22nd over also making a good supporting role to the skipper. The fighting 69-run stand ended with Wellalage departing for 34 runs in 61, hitting 3 fours off the bowling of Nangeyalia Kharote while deputy skipper Raveen de Silva was 9th wicket to go out scoring 21 in 84 balls with 2 fours. The last wicket pair Vinuja Ranpul and Treveen Mathew once again added 14 runs to increase the total to 130 while Mathew was the fourth player to be run out as the innings finished with fours overs to spare while Sri Lanka were five runs away from their victory target. Noor Ahmad the wrist-spinner who finished 1 for 20 in ten overs spell with 2 maidens scoring brisk knock of 30 in 33 balls was named man of the match for his good all-round performances and Vinuja Ranpul’s 5 for 10 was in vain in his first match of the tournament.

Afghanistan have become the second team after England to book a place in the Super League last-four of the tournament. This was Afghanistan's second time reaching the semi-finals and they achieved the same in 2018 in New Zealand. However, unfortunately, Sri Lankan worst batting performances in the last few months came in the most important quarter-final.

Sri Lanka have to compete in the 5th place play-off semi-final game against South Africa tomorrow (30).

Chief scores:

Afghanistan under 19’s: 134 all out in 47.1 overs (Nangeyalia Kharote 13, Allah Noor 25, Abdul Hadi 37, Noor Ahmad 30, Vinuja Ranpul 5/10, Dunith Wellalage 3/36)

Sri Lanka under 19’s: 130 all out in 46 overs (Chamindu Wickramasinghe 16, Dunith Wellalage 34, Raveen de Silva 21, Vinuja Ranpul 11*, Bilal Sami 2/33)

Add new comment