Dhananjaya or Aravinda? Dominant de Silva keeps Sri Lanka alive, Afghanistan sweat on Rashid injury

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Sri Lanka have breathed some life back into their T20 World Cup campaign with a clinical six-wicket win over Afghanistan at the Gabba.

Needing victory to stay alive in the tournament, Dhananjaya de Silva (66 not out off 42 balls) iced the result by guiding his side home with nine balls to spare after the Sri Lankan bowling attack laid the foundations. 

Deceptive spinner Wanindu Hasaranga took 3-13, including two wickets in the final over, as Afghanistan were restricted to a sub-par 8-144 after electing to bat first in good run-scoring conditions. 

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Making things worse for Afghanistan was a knee injury to Rashid Khan sustained while stopping a boundary late in the run chase; he limped off in considerable pain to cap off a nightmare day in which he repeatedly vented his frustrations at teammates and himself.

Sri Lanka’s win moves them to four points in Group 1 and needing to beat England (3 points) in their last Super 12 match while also hoping New Zealand (5) or Australia (5) slip up in their final matches.

Chasing 145, the Sri Lankan batsmen never looked under great pressure but de Silva perfectly paced the run-scoring after the Afghans kept them to 2-63 at the midway mark.

Dhananjaya de Silva of Sri Lanka bats.

Dhananjaya de Silva of Sri Lanka bats. (Photo by Chris Hyde-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

The elegant right-hander hit six boundaries and two sixes to end Afghanistan’s remote semi-final hopes.

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The Afghans’ innings was characterised by lots of starts from their top order but they paid the price for failing to go on with the job, with none passing 30.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz scored a solitary single off the first over but did set a solid foundation in a 42-run opening stand with Usman Ghani against accurate new-ball bowling.

Trying to up the rate immediately after the power play, Gurbaz fell for 28 (24 balls) trying to hit bustling paceman Lahiru Kumara (2-30) back over his head. 

Ghani went on to make a run-a-ball 27 before holing out to man-of-the-match Hasaranga who dried up the run flow in the middle overs as Afghanistan went seven overs without scoring a boundary.

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With the Afghans looking at a 160-plus total with five overs to bat, Hasaranga expertly took the game away from them with 2-3 in a superb final over.

© AAP

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