Right-handers Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah cracked half-centuries laying the foundation for Afghanistan to ease to a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first ODI played at the Sooriyawewa Stadium today.
Zadran made a run-a-ball 98 which had 11 boundaries and two sixes while Shah made 55 in 80 balls with three boundaries.
The pair came together when Afghanistan lost their first wicket with 25 runs on the board, going on to share a match winning 146-run stand for the second wicket.
That partnership meant that those followed were able to bat with little to no pressure, with Shah sharing another 40-run stand for the fourth wicket with Hashatullah Shahidi.
Shahidi then put on a 42-run partnership with Mohammed Nabi for the fourth wicket, taking Afghanistan to within inches of the win.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka, invited to take first lease of the wicket, lost their top four batsmen with 84 runs on the board in the 20th over, before Charith Asalanka and Dhananjaya de Silva came to the rescue.
The pair put in stiff resistance, posting their 50-run stand in 61 balls before taking Sri Lanka to 150 in the 32nd over.
They reached their respective half tons, with Asalanka making it first in 57 balls and de Silva in 56 deliveries.
De Silva did not last long after though, as right arm spinner Mohammad Nabi made the breakthrough, ending a valuable 99 run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Skipper Dasun Shanaka who joined Asalanka put on a stand of 32 runs for the sixth wicket which followed with Asalanka sharing another valuable 48 runs stand for the seventh with debutant Dushan Hemantha – Sri Lanka at that stage on 263 for 7 in the 49th over.
The hosts lost two quick wickets in the last over with the score on 264 that included Asalanka who hit 91 in 95 balls that included 12 boundaries before being bowled out for 268 runs.
The two teams will play their second match Sunday at the same venue. By M. Shamil Amit
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