Nervy Lankans huff and puff to beat Afghanistan
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.