Riding on the hundred from Mahela Jayawardene and a quick-fire innings from Thisara Perera, Sri Lanka defeated Afghanistan by 4 wickets in a close encounter at Dunedin.
Chasing a target of 233, Sri Lanka got off to a worst possible start as they lost both their openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lahiru Thirimanne for a duck inside first two overs. Kumar Sangakkara and Dimuth Karunaratne then shortly followed both the openers leaving Sri Lanka reeling at 51/4 in 12 overs. Mahela Jayawardene and skipper Angelo Mathews then guided the team’s chase as they put on a 126-run partnership for the fifth wicket before Mathews got run-out on the score of 44. Jayawardene then brought his 35th ODI hundred but he also lost his wicket shortly Mathews got out, leaving Sri Lanka in trouble at 178/6 in 41 overs. All-Rounder Thisara Perera then saved the team from the blushes and hit some lusty blows at the end to help Sri Lanka win their first match of the tournament. Perera remained unbeaten on 47 whereas Hamid Hassan took the most wickets (3) for Afghanistan.
Earlier after being put into bat, Afghanistan rode on some useful contributions from Asghar Stanikzai, Samiullah Shenwari and Mirwais Ashraf to finish at 232 in 49.4 overs. Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews were the pick of the bowlers from Sri Lanka as they grabbed three scalps each. Perera, who didn’t play the first match against New Zealand, also took one wicket. Seamer Suranga Lakmal was the most economical of the lot as he finished with the figures of 10-1-36-2.
Brief Scores: Afghanistan 232 (Stanikzai 54, Shenwari 38, Malinga 3-41, Mathews 3-41) lost to Sri Lanka 236/6 (Jayawardene 100, Perera 47*, Hassan 3-43) by 4 wickets