How the mighty have fallen is how one would describe Sri Lanka’s early exit from the Asia Cup in UAE. With India yet to play their opening fixture, the five-time champions of the tournament and the 1996 World Cup winners were knocked out from the Asia Cup. The final nail in the coffin was delivered on Monday when Afghanistan beat them by 91 runs. Earlier, Sri Lanka had collapsed miserably and tamely to Bangladesh.
Having won the toss, Afghanistan opted to bat and were dismissed for 249 runs on a slow surface. Despite stroke-making proving to be a task, Rahmat Shah top-scored for the war torn nation with 72 runs from 90 balls. With the ball, Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera picked up a fifer to give some semblence of respect. In reply, however, Sri Lanka’s disarray with the bat was highlighted once again. The islanders were dismissed for mere 158 runs in 41.2 overs.
Sri Lanka were guilty of taking too long to get off their mark and to their paces. Upul Tharanga played a 36 run knock but the fact that it came in 64 balls didn’t help their cause. Soon enough, Sri Lanka were 88/4. Under pressure to reduce the required run rate, Angelo Mathews faltered for 22 runs. Mujeeb ur Rahman, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid and Mohammad Nabi picked up two wickets each for Afghanistan.
Twitterati were somewhat surprised by the result while also mocking Sri Lanka for their dismal showing.
Five time champions Sri Lanka are out of the #AsiaCup2018 even before one of the participating side (India) have played their first match. This is quite a unique situation in an international tournament!#AsiaCup#SLvAFG #AFGvSL
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) September 17, 2018
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) September 17, 2018
One point to Note- Sri Lankan players do not play in the IPL and hence may not have tactical game plans against such high quality mystery spinners. #SLvAfg
— Gaurav Sundararaman (@gaurav_sundar) September 17, 2018
Not sure whether Sri Lanka placed in tough group or Afghanistan placed in easier group. #SLvAFG
— Usman Khan Shinwari (@UsmanKhShinwari) September 17, 2018
— Karmic Slave (@Karmic_Slave) September 17, 2018
Afghanistan have beaten Zimbabwe and Ireland so far this year besides going through the qualifiers to seal passage into the World Cup next year in England.