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Asian Games 2023: Afghanistan dumps defending champion Sri Lanka to enter semifinal

Asian Games 2023: Afghanistan dumps defending champion Sri Lanka to enter semifinal

The target for Sri Lanka appeared achievable, but the run chase was blown by experienced fast Naib's 3-28 and youthful leg-spinner Ahmad's 3-16, resulting in a 108-run defeat.

Battling Afghanistan defeated defending champion Sri Lanka by eight runs on Wednesday to secure a semifinal matchup with Pakistan at the Asian Games, with to three wickets apiece from Gulbadin Naib and Qais Ahmad.

On a Hangzhou pitch that featured pace, sharp spin, and fierce bounce, the Afghans were dismissed for just 116 in the 19th over after being brought in to bat.

The only opposition came from Noor Ali Zadran's 51, as seamer Nuwan Thushara scored 4–17.

The goal set by Sri Lanka was achievable, but it failed miserably in the run chase, as it was bowled out for 108 thanks to inexperienced leg-spinner Ahmad's 3-16 and seasoned fast Naib's 3-28.

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In the two previous Asian Games featuring T20 cricket, Afghanistan finished second to Bangladesh and then Sri Lanka. These events took place in Guangzhou in 2010 and Incheon in 2014.

They sent a plethora of elite players to China, like as the hard-hitting all-rounder Naib and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Shahzad.

In Sydney last year, Thushara, who was making his debut against Australia, struck with the first ball he faced, bowling opener Sediqullah Atal for one.

After calming things down, Shahzad (20) and Zadran put up 54 for the next wicket. However, the floodgates opened when Shahidullah (23) was out of the game, as eight wickets fell for just 24, and none of the final seven batters reached double digits.

However, Sri Lanka also encountered difficulties due to the uneven surface, since it was difficult to find boundaries and no one could get going.

Although Shevon Daniel, a teenage opener, is expected to be a budding star, he only scored nine on his T20 debut because Naib was troubling the top order.

After that, Ahmad's leg-spin helped cut Sri Lanka down to 78-7, and after skipper Sahan Arachchige was out for 22, the team was struggling at 84-8 with no chance of winning.

On Wednesday, Bangladesh will play Malaysia in the other quarterfinal; the winner will play India in the final.