Dhananjaya or Aravinda? Dominant de Silva keeps Sri Lanka alive, Afghanistan sweats over Rashid injury

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Sri Lanka revived their T20 World Cup campaign with a clinical six-wicket win over Afghanistan at the Gabba.

Needing the win to stay alive in the tournament, Dhananjaya de Silva (66 not from 42 balls) iced the result as he guided his side home with nine balls in reserve after the Sri Lankan bowling attack had laid the foundations.

Deceptive spinner Wanindu Hasaranga took 3-13, including two wickets in the final, as Afghanistan were held to an under-par 8-144 after opting to bat first under good scoring conditions.

To make matters worse for Afghanistan, Rashid Khan injured his knee while stopping a limit late in the chase; he limped off in considerable pain to cap off a nightmarish day in which he repeatedly vented his frustrations with his teammates and himself.

Sri Lanka’s victory puts them four points in Group 1 and must beat England (3 points) in their final Super 12 game while hoping New Zealand (5) or Australia (5) are wrong in their last matches.

Chasing 145, the Sri Lankan batsmen never looked under great pressure, but de Silva paced the scoring perfectly after the Afghans held them at 2-63 at the halfway mark.

Dhananjaya de Silva of the Bats of Sri Lanka. (Photo by Chris Hyde-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

The elegant right-hander hit six boundaries and two sixes to end Afghanistan’s distant semi-final hopes.

The Afghans’ innings have been characterized by numerous starts since their first order, but they have paid the price for not continuing the job, with none exceeding 30.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz scored just one single in the first round but laid down a solid foundation in a 42-point opening stand with Usman Ghani against pinpoint bowling.

Trying to pick up the pace immediately after the power play, Gurbaz went down for 28 (24 balls) trying to hit lively paceman Lahiru Kumara (2-30) over his head.

Ghani then had a run-a-ball 27 before breaking through against Hasaranga, the man of the match, who dried up the running flow down the middle as Afghanistan went seven overs without scoring a boundary.

As the Afghans looked over 160 with five overs to beat, Hasaranga skillfully took the game away from them with 2-3 in a stunning final.


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