Sri Lanka reach Asia Cup final

Afghanistan

Sri Lanka recorded 253 for six in their Asia Cup match against Afghanistan, a middling batting effort, but managed to defend that as they won by 129 runs and bowled the crowd favourites out for 124 to reach the final.

Sri Lanka recorded 253 for six in their Asia Cup match against Afghanistan, a middling batting effort, but managed to defend that as they won by 129 runs and bowled the crowd favourites out for 124 to reach the final.

Kumar Sangakkara's 76 in the middle overs steadied the ship after the Afghans, fresh from their win over Bangladesh, did well with the ball early on, but Angelo Mathews took advantage of poor fielding at the death to make 45 not out.

The slower bowlers then did the job for the Sri Lankans, as Lasith Malinga went wicketless with the new ball, but Thisara Perera, Chaturanga de Silva and Ajantha Mendis took eight of the 10 wickets as the Afghans were out in the 39th over.

Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat first, preferring to defend against an unpredictable batting line up, who had done so well against the Tigers two days prior. Lahiru Thirimanne was out for five early on.

Sri Lanka's batsmen otherwise all got starts, but Afghanistan did take regular wickets and kept the bowling tighter than the opposition would have expected. Sangakkara's76 was the only half ton, and Mathews's cameo was key.

Afghanistan's inexperience was evident from the start of the chase as they seemed intimidated by their target and opponents, and they lost regular wickets. Two 20s in the top order were pretty much it aside from skipper Mohammed Nabi's 37.

<b>Afghanistan:</b> Mohammad Shahzad, Asghar Stanikzai, Noor Ali Zadran, Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf, Shapoor Zadran, Hamza Hotak, Dawlat Zadran .

<b>Sri Lanka:</b> Dinesh Chandimal, Chaturanga de Silva, Mahela Jayawardene, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne.

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