Nervy Lankans huff and puff to beat Afghanistan

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS -

Ka­mindu Mendis’s all­round ef­forts pro­pelled star-stud­ded Sri Lanka Emerg­ing Team to a nervy one- wicket win over Afghanistan Emerg­ing Team in their Asian Cricket Coun­cil Emerg­ing Teams Cup Group A match played at the CCC grounds yes­ter­day.

The am­bidex­trous Mendis picked up three for 3 for 46 as he com­bined with La­sith Amab­uldeniya to re­strict vis­i­tors for 210--bowled out with 13 balls to spare. But it was his fight­ing half- cen­tury that helped Sri Lanka es­caped through with the skin of their teeth. Mendis fell for 71, with Sri Lanka still need­ing 14 runs to win with one wicket in hand but La­sith Am­buldeniya and Asitha Fer­nando took Sri Lanka home much to Sri Lanka’s con­so­la­tion. Mendis’ in­nings which came off in 98 de­liv­er­ies had eight bound­aries.

Though Sri Lanka lost early wick­ets, they were well placed on 155 for four at the start of the 34th over but but vis­i­tors en­gi­neered a dra­matic col­lapse in the mid­dle to al­most snatch a shock­ing vic­tory. Na­tional dis­card Asela Gu­naratne, skip­per Shammu Ashan scored 32 and 34 re­spec­tively. At the top of the or­der Avishka Fer­nando also hit a quick fire 34 off 31 balls but none of these would have mat­tered, had not Am­buldeniya and Asitha Fer­nando held their nerve to put the fin­ish­ing touches un­der pres­sure. Zia- urRah­man was the pick of the bowler tak­ing three for 33 while Karim Janat picked up 2 for 31 in­clud­ing the prized wicket of Mendis.

Ear­lier bat t i n g first Afghanistan Emerg­ing play­ers were bowled out for 210 runs with Karim Janat top scor­ing. He made 68 runs while Shahidul­lah ( 38) and Rah­man­ul­lah Gur­baz made 31 off 26 balls with two bound­aries and two sixes.

Sri Lanka who beat Oman in their open­ing match on Fri­day now placed sec­ond in the g roup be­hind I ndian Emerg­ing team.

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