Gaddafi Stadium hosted the 6th ODI of Asia Cup 2023 between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka won that match by 2 runs by dismissing all the players from the opposition in 38 overs. Afghanistan lost the opener against Bangladesh but they still had a chance of qualifying to the Super Four stage by winning the final group match by a huge margin. All they had to do was score 291+ runs in less than 40 overs.
Both openers struggled to survive against the spell of Kasun Rajitha, later handing him their wickets by a catch and direct hit.
Middle batters took up the onus to clinch victory. By the end, it was only tears that were palpable on the pitch as fans of the sport across the world shared the sentiment. The power of the middle order is evident from the fact that Shahidi and Nabi brought up half-centuries each at 88.39 and 203.13 strike rates each.
Things went south the moment Fazalhaq Farooqi played defensive shots. The intention was to take a single and get Rashid Khan on strike. He remained on the other end, seeing his batting partner get out for LBW.
It has given the Lankan army another shot at continuing to win against Afghanistan. The team is experiencing political stability in their backyard; however, that has let them go down without a fight. Back in 2018, Afghanistan were able to draw the match with India, a side that was led by MS Dhoni for the last time. As a matter of fact, Afghanistan were able to pick Dhoni’s wicket for just 8 runs in 17 balls.
Simply put, Afghanistan is a team that never goes down without a fight. The most recent match saw their bowlers go all out against the Lankan strike. Gulbadin Naib picked up 4 wickets at the economy of 6 runs per over throughout his innings of 10 overs. He was completely complemented by Rashid Khan and Rahman, giving a send-off to two and one players respectively.
Sri Lanka had an upper hand anyway and were the favorites to win according to some betting sites for cricket. The Afghans were not far from their odds and were close to winning the event. It was a day dedicated to Kusal Mendis for contributing 92 runs in 84 balls, giving him the title of Player of the Match after the conclusion.
The world has the top four teams for the Asia Cup 2023 – India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Super Four stage begins on September 06, 2023, with Pakistan and Bangladesh locking horns in Gaddafi Stadium from 3 pm IST.
Afghanistan are out of the tournament. Their opponent will face Bangladesh on the following day. India and Pakistan will eventually find themselves back in the Lankan region where the pitch of R. Premadasa Stadium is being prepared.
Sri Lanka hold the title of Asia Cup having won the previous edition by beating Pakistan in the T20 format.