Sri Lanka started their title defence on a positive note by beating Afghanistan by 6 wickets in their first group match at the Eden Gardens. Afghanistan scored a decent total of 153 but Dilshan played an excellent knock which ensured a comfortable win for Sri Lanka. Here we look at the five turning points of Sri Lanka versus Afghanistan match.

  1. Brilliant start by the Sri Lankan bowlers

After Afghanistan won the toss and choose to bat, the Sri Lankan bowlers made an excellent start bowling good line and length. They got the dangerous wicket of Shazad who tried to hit a six but was caught. The Sri Lankan bowlers did not allow the Afghanistan batsmen to play big shots. At the end of first six over’s Afghanistan was 36 for 1. Apart from some lose balls, the Sri Lankan bowlers created pressure on the Afghanistan batsmen.

  1. Excellent spell by Ragana Herath

Sri Lankan experienced spinner Ragana Herath was brought on by Mathews in the 8th over of the innings. He went for 6 runs in his first over. He picked the wicket of Noor Ali Zadran in his 2nd over. He did not allow the Afghanistan batsmen to score runs easily. In his 3rd over he picked the wicket of Nabi. At that time Afghanistan were struggling at 51 for 4. He was brought again brought in the 14th over but went for 13 runs which spoiled his spell. He deceived the batsmen with flight and variations which the Afghanistan batsmen were not able to pick.

  1. Shenwari quick fire 31

Shenwari came at the crease when Afghanistan was struggling at 51 for 4 in the 11th over. He started to attack the bowler’s right from the start smashing Perera for a four. He hit a six of Hearth bowling in the 15th over. He hit two fours off the bowling of Perera in the 16th over. In the next over he smashed another six off Kulaskera bowling. In attempt of hitting another six he was caught. Before getting out he smashed 31 off 14 balls which gave Afghanistan some momentum.

  1. Stanikzai playing a captains knock

Stanikzai came at the crease in the fifth ball of the third over when Afghanistan was 10 for 1. He took time to settle when wickets were falling at the other end. He looked hit shots but could not hit it. In the 12th over he smashed 2 sixes of Siriwarande bowling. He and Shenwari put up a 44 runs for the fifth wicket. After the fall of Shenwari wicket, the captain took the charge and completed his half century in 42 balls. He smashed 62 off 47 balls with 3 fours and 4 sixes. He was dismissed in the 19th over which helped Afghanistan to get a competitive total.

  1. Dilshan solidity at the top

Chasing 154 runs, Dilshan and Chandimal gave Sri Lanka a quick fire start to the team. Dilshan played excellent shots to the fast bowlers and did not allow Afghanistan inexperienced bowlers to settle in a line and length. Dilshan was severe on the loose balls. He completed his 50 off 37 balls. When wickets fell at the other end, Dilshan hold fort on the other end. He remained not out on 83 off 56 balls made sure that Sri Lanka won the match. He was named the man of the match for his match winning knock.