Sri Lanka staged a remarkable comeback to secure a comprehensive series victory over Afghanistan, registering a resounding nine-wicket win in Hambantota. The match was highlighted by outstanding performances from Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga, who wreaked havoc with the ball, bundling out Afghanistan for a mere 116 runs. In response, Sri Lankan openers Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne effortlessly chased down the target, reaching victory in just 16 overs.
Afghanistan’s batting woes continued as they experienced a second consecutive collapse. The trouble began early on, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz mistiming a pull shot to fine leg in the second over. Rahmat Shah, who impressed with a half-century in the previous match, fell victim to Dushmantha Chameera in the third over. Two balls later, Hashmatullah Shahidi became Chameera’s second scalp. Ibrahim Zadran, another standout performer for Afghanistan, could only manage 22 runs before being dismissed in the ninth over, leaving the visitors struggling at 48 for 4.
Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran attempted to stabilize the innings, battling for four overs. However, Chameera broke the partnership, claiming the wickets of both batsmen in quick succession. Chameera ended the innings with impressive figures of 4 for 63. Wanindu Hasaranga then took charge, dismantling the lower-order. He initiated the collapse by trapping Rashid Khan leg before wicket in the 16th over. Despite Gulbadin Naib’s contribution of 20 runs, Afghanistan could only reach 116 before being bowled out in the 23rd over.
Sri Lanka’s opening pair, Nissanka and Karunaratne, provided a dominant display with the bat, launching a blistering assault on Afghanistan’s bowlers. Nissanka, in particular, was destructive against Mujeeb Ur Rahman and FazalHaq Farooqi, propelling Sri Lanka to 84 for 0 in just 10 overs. Gulbadin managed to dismiss Nissanka in the 11th over after a brilliant knock of 51 runs off 34 deliveries, including eight fours and two sixes. However, Karunaratne continued his fine form, guiding Sri Lanka to victory alongside Kusal Mendis and reaching his own fifty in the process. The team comfortably crossed the finish line in just 16 overs.
With this comprehensive win, Sri Lanka showcased their dominance over Afghanistan, underscoring their exceptional performance in both bowling and batting. The series victory is a testament to their resilience and determination.
Afghanistan: 116 in 22.2 overs (Mohammad Nabi 23, Ibrahim Zadran 22; Dushmantha Chameera 4-63, Wanindu Hasaranga 3-7)
Sri Lanka: 120/1 in 16 overs (Dimuth Karunaratne 56*, Pathum Nissanka 51)
Result: Sri Lanka won by 9 wickets.