Sri Lanka win thriller in Cardiff thanks to Kusal Perera's 78

Last Modified Wednesday, 5 June 2019 (16:06 IST)
Cardiff:Sri Lanka came out on top in a topsy-turvy affair in Cardiff as they 
successfully defended 187 to claim their first win of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 
2019 against Afghanistan on Tuesday night.
Put in, Sri Lanka got off to a brilliant start, racing to 79/0 off the first 10 overs. Despite 
this fantastic start, the best Powerplay of the tournament so far, the Sri Lankans were all 
out for 201. A collapse of 7/36 meant Sri Lanka went from 144/1 to 180/8. This is the 
second successive match where Sri Lanka have had a disastrous middle-order collapse, 
after losing 5/14 in their opening match against New Zealand.
   
The one player who stood firm for Sri Lanka was Kusal Perera, who made 78 from 81 
balls before he was the seventh wicket to fall in that epic collapse.
 
The game had one significant rain delay, which resulted in the match being reduced to 
41 overs a side, but Sri Lanka were bowled out for the second time in two matches 
before completing their allotted overs, even with this reduction. 
   
With overs lost, Afghanistan's revised DLS target was 187. That looked like a 
straightforward chase, but it became increasingly difficult for the Afghans as they 
were reduced to 57/5 in the face of some accurate bowling from Sri Lanka. Nuwan 
Pradeep was the chief destroyer for Sri Lanka, finishing with figures of 4/31 in his 
nine overs. 
   
When Pradeep got Gulbadin Naib for 23 after a partnership worth 64 with Najibullah 
Zadran, the game swung back towards Sri Lanka, and despite the best efforts of 
Najibullah (43), Afghanistan finished 34 runs short of their target. (UNI)