The 12th match of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2018 was played between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka at the Cobham Oval in Whangarie on Wednesday. Afghanistan eventually emerged victorious in the rain-hit contest. They won by 32 runs on D/L Method and ensured their place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Afghanistan posted a mammoth total of 284/7: mainly thanks to the contributions from Ibrahim Zadran (86 off 112), Ikram Ali Khil (55 off 89) and a late order quick-fire 63 off 44 by the star of the previous match Darwish Rasooli. Sri Lankan bowlers were taken to the cleaners.
Sri Lanka had a daunting task ahead. They started off nervously, were reduced to 11 for 2. Krishan Sanjula and Jehan Daniel steadied the innings with a 76-run stand. Rain halted play for a while, Sri Lanka were given a revised target of 235 off 38 overs. They resumed play at 114/3. The overcast, slippery and windy conditions didn’t work in Sri Lanka’s favour. Kamindu Mendis and Ashen Bandara tried to up the ante with their partnership of 40 from just 24 balls. In the end it just wasn’t enough. They fell short by 32 runs. Afghanistan’s captain Naveen ul Haq lead from the front, he took 4 wickets for 35. Azmatullah and Qais Ahmed took two wickets each. Overall, Afghanistan handled the pressure like pros. There all-round ability in all disciples gave them the edge.
Afghanistan will be relaxed in their final group game against Ireland on 20th January now that they have qualified for the quarter-finals. Sri Lanka will have to battle it out with Pakistan on Friday, 19th January. The winner of that game will join Afghanistan in the knockout stage of the tournament.