A dramatic low-scoring thriller saw Afghanistan win by a run-out with Sri Lanka needing just five runs to reach the Super League semi-finals.
Outstanding individual performances by Vinuja Ranpul and Dunith Wellalage almost boosted Sri Lanka to victory, but Afghanistan held their nerve to seal a spot in the final four. Here are the big talking points from the game in Antigua.
THE SUPER LEAGUE
AFGHANISTAN BEAT SRI LANKA BY FOUR RUNS
The most dramatic of finishes in Coolidge
Momentum swung to-and-fro throughout an intriguing contest in Antigua, and so it should have been little surprise that there was a late sting in the tail.
But nevertheless it was a dramatic way to settle the game as Vinuja Ranpul and Treveen Mathew found themselves at the same end in a shambolic mix-up between the wickets, handing Afghanistan the chance to snatch a four-run victory from the jaws of defeat.
The scenes of celebration were almost as dramatic as the final moments of the match, with Afghanistan heading through to face England in the first Super League semi-final.
Afghanistan’s remarkable bowling performance
Sri Lanka scored well over 135 in all three of their group games and would have been confident of chasing down Afghanistan’s seemingly modest total.
But runs were in extremely short supply as Afghanistan kept the rate down around two-an-over as the pressure built on Sri Lanka.
It was an extraordinary team performance, with every bowler contributing, and yet the pressure also told on the Afghanistan attack. Extras finished as the joint top-scorer in Sri Lanka’s reply, as Afghanistan almost undermined their pressure-building bowling strategy by sending down 32 wides in 46 overs.
Vinuja Ranpul’s stunning spell
Sri Lanka’s right-arm quick produced an extraordinary performance in Antigua to leave Afghanistan’s innings in tatters before finishing it off when he returned in the death overs.
In the space of two overs Ranpul removed opener Nangeyalia Kharote, captain Suliman Safi and Ijaz Ahmad Ahmadzai as 24/1 became 26/4 in the blink of an eye.
Ranpul completed his five-wicket haul with a brace late on, but it was the incredible control that he exerted that made his display so remarkable. The 18-year-old’s five-wicket haul cost just 10 runs in 9.1 miserly overs.
Remarkable rearguard almost saves Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s run chase looked dead in the water when Yasiru Rodrigo fell to make it 43/7.
But captain Dunith Wellalage came out to bat down the order and almost rescued his side with a knock of 34 that very nearly proved to be a match-winning innings.
The all-rounder was top-scorer in the reply, and he very nearly took his side to the brink of an unlikely victory. Had he managed to stay through to the close it would almost certainly have been Sri Lanka progressing to the semi-finals.
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