In what turned out to be a gripping encounter, the Afghanistan cricket team faced off against Sri Lanka in the ongoing Asia Cup, and controversy was not far behind. Led by Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afghanistan found themselves in a perplexing situation, claiming they were unaware of the Net Run Rate (NRR) scenarios that would eventually determine their fate in the tournament.
Despite a valiant effort, Afghanistan’s dream was dashed as they lost the match by just two runs while attempting to chase down a daunting target of 291 runs in 37.1 overs.
The aftermath of this nail-biter saw head coach Jonathan Trott addressing the media, shedding light on the team’s lack of knowledge regarding NRR calculations. This revelation raised eyebrows, but the Asian Cricket Council remained silent on the matter.
However, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) did not take this issue lightly and promptly submitted a complaint regarding the contentious NRR calculation to the sport’s governing body.
As for the game itself, Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first. Their openers provided a solid foundation, and Kusal Mendis, batting at number three, delivered an impressive performance, scoring 92 runs.
Mendis’s contribution was crucial in helping Sri Lanka set a defendable total on the scoreboard. In the later stages of the innings, Dunith Wellalage and Maheesh Theekshana chipped in with 33* and 28 runs, respectively, further consolidating the Lankan Lions’ position.
With the ball in hand, Dusan Shanaka’s team made an excellent start, claiming three quick wickets. However, Hashmatullah Shahidi and Mohammad Nabi joined forces, forging an 80-run partnership that altered the course of the game.
Yet, once this formidable duo was dismissed, Afghanistan witnessed a steady procession of wickets, ultimately falling agonizingly short of victory.
Looking ahead, the Afghanistan cricket team is set for a break before heading to India for the upcoming ODI World Cup, scheduled to commence on October 5. Prior to the tournament, they will engage in a couple of friendly matches against South Africa and Sri Lanka. Their opening match will see them face Bangladesh, and Afghanistan will be eager to make a strong statement on the global stage.