ABU DHABI: Afghanistan had a fairytale rise at the international level and now they are maintaining that wise as they stunned Sri Lanka by 92 runs in Abu Dhabi, which sent the former champions crashing out of the Asia Cup on Monday.
It was a must-win game for Sri Lanka after they lost their opening game against Bangladesh by 137 runs but they were never near to winning ways as Afghanistan out-batted and outbowled them.
It makes the Asia Cup table a bit unbelievable as all were expecting Sri Lanka to at least reach the Super Four Stages but they will now be replaced by Afghanistan who achieved their first win over Sri Lanka in three matches.
This is also Afghanistan’s sixth win against a major team following their three wins against the West Indies and two over Bangladesh. They face Bangladesh in the last Group B match in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Rahmat Shah (72), Ihsanullah (45) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (37) batted solidly as Afghanistan were bowled out off the final delivery for 249.
Afghanistan spinners then jolted Sri Lankan batting with spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan taking two wickets apiece as the five-time former champions were bowed out for 158 in 41.2 overs.
Sri Lanka did not help their cause with two run outs while skipper Angelo Mathews played a reckless shot off Nabi and was caught near the boundary for 22.
This becomes Afghanistan’s first-ever victory against Sri Lanka in three one-day internationals after losing in the Asia Cup 2014 and World Cup a year later.
Sri Lanka, who now have lost 30 of their 40 matches since January 2017, had lost to Bangladesh by 137 runs in Dubai on Saturday.
Bowled out for a paltry 124 against Bangladesh, Sri Lankan batting again failed miserably with Upul Tharanga and Thisara Perera
Afghanistan were helped to 249 all out in their 50 overs with Rahmat Shah scoring 72 and Ihsanullah shipping in with 45.
Shah struck five boundaries during his 90-ball knock of 72 and added 50 for the second wicket with Ihsanullah (45) after Afghanistan won the toss and opted to bat on a flat pitch.
Ihsanullah hit six boundaries in his 65-ball innings while his opening partner Mohammad Shahzad batted in his aggressive style, hitting a six and four boundaries in his 47-ball 34.
Rahmat then added another 80 runs for the fourth wicket with Hashmatullah Shahidi who made a sedate 52-ball 37.
For Sri Lanka seamer, Thisara Perera took five for 55 and spinner Akila Dananjaya finished with two for 39.
Defending champions India, Pakistan and qualifier Hong Kong are placed in Group A.
Pakistan beat Hong Kong by eight wickets in Dubai on Sunday.
Top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super Four stages from where top two teams will play the final in Dubai on September 28.
India will face Hong Kong in Dubai on Tuesday before their high profile match against Pakistan a day later at the same venue.