Sri Lanka overcome Afghanistan in 3rd ODI, level series 1-1
Sri Lanka clinched a nail-biting win over Afghanistan to level the three-match series 1-1 on Wednesday. Crunch knocks from Kusal Mendis (67) and Charith Asalanka (83*) helped the hosts get over the line (314/6). Ace Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan dazzled with a four-fer but it wasn't enough. Earlier, Ibrahim Zadran's career-best effort (162) helped the visitors rack up 313/8 in 50 overs. Here's more.
How did the match pan out?
Opting to bat, Afghanistan lost Rahmanullah Gurbaz cheaply, while Rahmat Shah departed after the powerplay. Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (4) was dismissed soon, bringing their score to 57/3 in 14.1 overs. Ibrahim and Najibullah Zadran stitched a record stand, getting Afghanistan to a fighting total. SL started well before losing the tempo in the middle overs. However, Asalanka and Dunith Wellalage (31*) got them through.
A historic partnership for Afghanistan
As per ESPNcricinfo, Ibrahim and Najibullah now hold the record for the highest batting partnership by Afghanistan against Sri Lanka in ODIs (154). They bettered the 118-run stand inked by Ibrahim and Rahmat in the first ODI.
15th ODI fifty for Najibullah
Najibullah delivered a knock under pressure. The middle-order batter scored 77 off 76 deliveries (4s: 8, 6s: 1). Hasaranga pulled curtains to his inning with a tossed-up delivery. It was Najibullah's 15th half-century in the format. He now holds 1,974 runs in 82 matches at 31.33. Notably, the southpaw struck a blistering 42 in the series opener to help Afghanistan take a 1-0 lead.
A knock to remember for Ibrahim
Ibrahim struck a sublime 162 off 138 deliveries. He blasted 15 fours and fours sixes before getting out on the last ball of the innings. Ibrahim scored his third ODI hundred and highest score in the format. He has raced to 433 runs in eight ODIs while averaging a mouth-dropping 61.85. His inning-wise scores: 2, 19, 5, 120*, 8, 106, 10, and 162.
Joint-highest score for Afghanistan in limited-overs cricket
As per Kausthub Gudipati, 162 is the joint-highest score by an Afghanistan batter in both ODIs and T20Is. There's an interesting coincidence to this feat. Ibrahim clocked the record score while aged 20 years and 11 months (vs SL). Meanwhile, Hazratullah Zazai whipped a 62-ball 162* against Ireland in 2019 while aged 20 years and 11 months.
Key numbers for Lankan bowlers
Pacer Kasun Rajitha was spot on as he claimed 3/60. It was his second three-wicket haul of the series, having pocketed a career-best 3/31 in the second ODI. He now has 17 wickets at 34.05. Wanindu Hasaranga managed figures worth 2/67. The spin maestro has 39 wickets in 34 matches, averaging 34.79. Dhananjaya de Silva and Asitha Fernando picked a wicket each.
Mendis surpasses 2,600 runs
Mendis was toying with the Afghan bowlers as he raced to a 44-ball fifty. Spinner Mohammad Nabi eventually got the better of him in the 18th over. The hard-hitter managed 67 off 61 deliveries, bashing eight fours and a six. He slammed his 20th ODI fifty, thereby steering to 2,616 runs across 88 innings at 31.90.
A look at the H2H record
This was only the seventh ODI match-up between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. SL own a 4-2 lead in the head-to-head record, besides a no result in the second ODI. Both sides never met in a bilateral match before this series.
Rashid troubles the Lankan batters
Leg-spinner Rashid was at his lethal best as he snapped up mouth-dropping figures of 4/37. It's his career-best figures against the Lankans in ODIs. He has raced to 163 wickets in 86 matches in the format, averaging 18.55.