Sri Lanka booked their place in the final of the 2014 Asia Cup with a confident 129-run win over Afghanistan.
Fresh off a pulsating victory over Bangladesh, the minnows competed hard with the ball, restricting Sri Lanka to 254-6 from their 50 overs. However, their batting was badly exposed in Dhaka, as they slumped to 124 all out.
The win means Sri Lanka will definitely contest the Asia Cup final, with the odds in Pakistan's favour of being the team to join them.
|Sri Lanka Innings|
|K Perera||b Ashraf||33||63||49|
|Thirimanne||b S Zadran||5||19||16|
|Sangakkara||run out (Nabi)||76||136||102|
|M Jayawardene||c Nabi||b Ashraf||14||26||14|
|de Silva||c Ashraf||b Zadran||17||19||16|
|T Perera||not out||19||44||23|
|Extras||6nb 6w 0b 6lb||18|
|Total||for 6||253||(50.0 ovs)|
|Ali||c de Silva||b A Mendis||21||51||41|
|Stanikzai||b T Perera||27||30||34|
|Mangal||c Sangakkara||b T Perera||4||14||13|
|Shenwari||c Thirimanne||b Lakmal||6||21||19|
|Nabi||lbw||b de Silva||37||63||43|
|N Zadran||c Mathews||b T Perera||11||42||35|
|Ashraf||c T Perera||b de Silva||1||27||18|
|Hotak||lbw||b A Mendis||1||11||14|
|Zadran||b A Mendis||0||5||8|
|S Zadran||not out||0||3||0|
|Extras||0nb 7w 0b 2lb||9|
|Total||for 10||124||(38.4 ovs)|
It was Sri Lanka's choice to bat, and despite an early breakthrough when Shapoor Zadran bowled Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara and Kusal Perera steadied the ship.
Sangakkara was patient for his 102-ball 76, but it proved exactly what his team required, and helped him break a record in the process:
1000 - Sangakkara is the fastest to 1000 international runs in a calendar year (3rd March), beating Kallis (10/3/2004). Quick. @ESPNcricinfo— OptaJim (@OptaJim) March 3, 2014
Afghanistan kept in the hunt with wickets to stop the scoreboard getting out of control, but an enterprising 45 from 41 from skipper Angelo Mathews pushed Sri Lanka beyond the 250 mark.
Afghanistan's chase began well enough with a partnership between Asghar Stanikzai and Noor Ali Zadran taking the associate nation to 53-1 in good time. However, once Thisara Perera bested Stanikzai (27) with a full delivery that rocked back the off stump, there was no way back.
Mohammad Nabi (37 from 41) offered the most resistance, but the wickets kept tumbling.
Mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis had the pick of the figures (7-2-11-3), but the wickets were shared around as Sri Lanka coasted to a bonus point victory.
They now have Bangladesh to face in what is effectively a dead rubber before the final, while Afghanistan's tournament concludes with a showpiece clash against world champions India.