Sri Lanka outsmarted Afghanistan to win the opening match of the Super 4 stage by four wickets at the Asia Cup on Saturday.
Danushka Gunathilaka (33) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (31) profited from dropped catches to carry Sri Lanka to a winning 179-6 with five balls to spare and avenge a heavy loss to the Afghans in the group stage.
Afghanistan, which was put in to bat, rode on opening batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s fabulous 84 off 45 balls before Sri Lanka pulled them back in the death overs to restrict them to 175-6.
“We believe we can chase anything on these kinds of wickets,” Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka said after his team’s second successive big chase.
“There was a plan coming into this game … partnerships was the key.”
Gurbaz was on 8 when Gunathilaka had him caught at the long-on boundary but video clearly showed the fielder pushed the boundary cushion with his back heel.
The lapse cost Sri Lanka as Gurbaz notched his half-century off just 22 balls in a second-wicket stand of 93 with Ibrahim Zadran, who made a nearly run-a-ball 40.