World T20 Super 10: Dilshan steers Lanka to six-wicket win

Sri Lanka's cricket captain Angelo Mathews (right) and cricketer Dinesh Chandimal attend a press conference in Colombo on January 13, 2016. (AFP)

Sri Lanka got their World T20 campaign off the mark with a six-wicket win over Afghanistan in their first Super 10 match at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.

Veteran opener Tillakaratne Dilshan smashed an undisputed 83 off just 56 balls, plundering eight fours and three sixes against an inexperienced Afghan attack and finished off the chase with an over and a ball to spare.

Earlier, Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai hit a career-best 62 to help the qualifiers post 153 for seven.

Stanikzai won the toss and opted to bat first on a slow wicket at Eden Gardens but his team struggled to get going before accelerating towards the end of their innings.

The Afghan captain hit four sixes and three fours in his 47-ball knock before falling in the penultimate over. Samiullah Shenwari (31) chipped in with a 14-ball cameo while Thisara Perera (3-33) was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers.

A solid unbeaten half century by Dilshan (83) helped Sri Lanka coast to a six-wicket win against Afghanistan in their opening World T20 Super 10 clash at Eden Gardens on Thursday.

Chasing a stiff target of 154, Dilshan slammed three sixes and eight boundaries, including the winning hit, as Sri Lanka replied with 155-4 in 18.5 overs.

A superb direct hit from Shahzad accounts for Thisara who is adjudged run out off a hairline decision. SL 85-3, 12.1 overs.

Thisara Perera run out 12 (8b 1x6)

Thisara slams a towering straight six off Karim as Sri Lanka are in pole position at the halfway stage. SL 71-2, 10 overs.

Thirimanne lofts Rashid Khan for a boundary before being castled off an inside edge by the 17-year-old debutant. SL 58-2, 8.4 overs.

Lahiru Thirimanne b Rashid Khan 6 (13b 1x4)

Sri Lanka have been pegged back in the Powerplay despite a flying start. SL 41-1, 6 overs.

Nabi strikes as Chandimal miscues to midwicket. SL 41-1, 5.2 overs.

Dinesh Chandimal c Shafiqullah b Mohammad Nabi 18 (17b 2x4 1x6)

Another good over for Sri Lanka as Dilshan cracks two consecutive boundaries off Hassan. SL 35-0, 4 overs.

Dilshan is turning it on smashing Zadran for two consecutive sixes - a flat hit over square leg and a Dilscoop. SL 25-0, 3 overs.

Sri Lanka are off to a flier with Chandimal sweeping Sadiq for a boundary over square leg and flicking over midwicket for a six as they begin chasing 154. SL 10-0, 1 over.

Afghanistan innings

Afghanistan blasted 102 off the last nine as they rallied to make 153-7 after electing to bat first.

Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai hit a career-best 62 to help the qualifiers post 153 for seven in their first Super 10 stage match of the World Twenty20 against champions Sri Lanka on Thursday.

Stanikzai won the toss and opted to bat first on a slow wicket at Eden Gardens but his team struggled to get going before accelerating towards the end of their innings.

The Afghan captain hit four sixes and three fours in his 47-ball knock before falling in the penultimate over.

Samiullah Shenwari (31) chipped in with a 14-ball cameo while Thisara Perera (3-33) was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Toss

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai won the toss and elected to bat in their opening match of the World T20 against Sri Lanka in Kolkata on Thursday.

Sri Lanka, the defending champions, brought in Shehan Jayasuriya in place of Sachithra Senanayake while Afghanistan brought in all rounder Mohammad Nabi for the Super 10 match.

Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Asghar Stanikzai (captain), Karim Sadiq, Gulbadin Naib, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Shafiqullah, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan

Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Chamara Kapugedera, Angelo Mathews (captain), Milinda Siriwardana, Shehan Jayasuriya, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dushmantha Chameera, Rangana Herath

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

TV Umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)

Reserve umpire: Ian Gould (ENG)

Match Referee: Chris Broad (ENG)

Preview

Afghanistan will try to exploit the disarray in the ranks of holders Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 in Kolkata Thursday, with their destructive opener Mohammad Shahzad looking to extend his trail of carnage.

A victory for the defending champions in their World T20 opener against the tournament's rank outsiders would normally be a no-brainer.

But the mood in the camps could not be more contrasting, with Sri Lanka in turmoil after changing their captain and coach in recent weeks and Afghanistan on a high after cruising through the preliminary round.

Afghanistan pulled off a comprehensive 59-run win against Zimbabwe in the qualifiers last week to storm into the Super 10s, a remarkable feat for the only non-Test team left in the tournament and who have to play all their matches away from their war-torn home.

Since overcoming the odds to compete in the 2010 World T20 in England, the Afghan team has managed to qualify for all the major international tournaments, including last year's 50-over World Cup.

They have also won 16 out of 19 T20 matches, thanks to some inspiring performances by Shahzad, their in-form opener and wicketkeeper.

Shahzad has rattled off 624 runs at an average of 34.66 in the past year, including an unbeaten 118 off 67 balls against Zimbabwe in January.

Apart from his colourful array of shots, the 31-year-old is regarded as the team's chief motivator thanks to his chirpy presence behind the stumps.

"The troubles back home are not really on our minds when we take the field," Shahzad told AFP recently in an interview.

"We are not here just to participate in the tournament, we have come here to do something," he said, bubbling with confidence.

The Afghans could not have asked for a better first big opponent than Sri Lanka, who have been grappling with a slump in form, having won just four of their 14 fixtures since their 2014 World T20 victory.

The defending champions have slumped to eighth in the T20 rankings and come into the World T20 following a disastrous showing at the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.

The struggling islanders also have had to replace the injured Lasith Malinga as captain, just hours before they were due to leave for India.

"From the outside no one is really giving us a chance and that's a good thing," said the team's new T20 skipper Angelo Mathews.

"We can play with a lot of freedom and that's what I expect from the team. I'm sure if we do play with a lot of freedom then we'll beat most teams."

Teams:

Afghanistan (from): Asghar Stanikzai (captain), Amir Hamza, Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Karim Sadiq, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad, Najibullah Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shenwari, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Shapoor Zadran, Usman Ghani.

Sri Lanka (from): Angelo Mathews (captain), Lasith Malinga, Dushmantha Chameera, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Rangana Herath, Shehan Jayasuriya, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Dasun Shanaka, Milinda Siriwardana, Jeffrey Vandersay.

 

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