Top Story: Afghanistan gains more fame thanks to Fazalhaq Farooqi and associates
Afghanistan defeated Sri Lanka 41 (Nissanka 46, Farooqi 4-34) by seven wickets with 242 for 3 (Omarzai 73, Rahmat 62, Shahidi 58*).
Afghanistan demonstrated remarkable poise in the pursuit for the second game in a row, reducing a poor target of 242 with icy coolness. Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, and Azmatullah Omarzai all scored fifty points apiece to lead the way, and with six points now earned, Afghanistan passed Sri Lanka to take fifth position in the standings.
In the meantime, Sri Lanka is all but eliminated from the running for a semi-final spot; in order to have any chance, they must win each of their remaining three matches against Bangladesh, India, and New Zealand.
In three of the five games they played prior to this one, their batting has stabilized, going from occasionally erratic to systematic. They scored over 270 against India (though the surface might have easily produced many more) and over 280 against England and Pakistan, despite blowouts against Bangladesh and New Zealand. Even when they went boundary-less between the tenth and twentieth over in the chase, there was a feeling of stability in their approach throughout those matches.
Afghanistan’s aim is to build in 10-over intervals; it’s not a secretive plan that needs to be kept under wraps. The aims are written on a whiteboard in the changing room. The rules for this match were very clear-cut: they had to win by the 48th over, with 50 runs to be scored after 10 overs (which they did), 100 after 20 (they were 13 short), and so on in multiples of that. Afghanistan needs to be reminded to use the entire innings and not rush things, even though the concept may seem so simple that it doesn’t need to be put in writing.