Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka to keep semi-final hopes alive
As Fazal Farooqi took 4-34 to help bowl Sri Lanka out for 241, Rahmat Shah made 62 to put Afghanistan on course.
With 28 balls to spare, Hashmatullah Shahidi and Azmatullah Omarzai put on an unbroken 111 for Jonathan Trott’s side in Pune.
The victory moves Afghanistan to within two points of fourth-placed Australia. After being put in to bat, Sri Lanka reached 134-2 before a middle-order collapse left them at 185-7.
Sri Lanka were bowled out with three balls remaining after Angelo Matthews and Maheesh Theekshana added 45 for the eighth wicket.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz was bowled by Dilshan Madushanka four balls into Afghanistan’s reply but Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat put on 73 for the second wicket.
As Rahmat was dismissed with 111 needed for victory, captain Hashmatullah and Azmatullah held their nerve, calmly ticking off the runs before kicking for home.
Despite having a significantly worse net run-rate than any of the teams above them, Afghanistan remains in the mix for a top-four finish with three games left. Afghanistan’s victories are no longer a surprise.
As a testament to Afghanistan’s growth, Monday’s match against another World Cup-winning nation was viewed as a 50-50 contest.
Afghanistan’s greatest strength has always been spin bowling. Now, it isn’t the only string in their bow.
Rashid Khan, playing his 100th one-day international, took 1-50 and Mujeeb Ur Rahman took 2-38.