SL vs AFG | Twitter reacts to Nabi heroics going in vain as Afghanistan succumb to net run rate miscalculation

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Afghanistan and Sri Lanka produced a match that would be remembered for years to come on Tuesday, in a straight fight for the Super Fours. The former, required to chase 292 in 37.1 overs, failed to realize that a six off the final ball could salvage qualification and eventually lost by two runs.

Opting to bat first, Sri Lankan openers Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne made the most of the powerplay on a batting haven by racking up 62 runs in the 10-over phase. However, a sensational spell from Gulabdin Naib sent the two as well as Sadeera Samawickarama back to the pavilion in quick succession to have the Lions reeling at 86/3. Kusal Mendis and Charith Asalanka steadily rebuilt the innings with a brilliant 102-run partnership, ensuring the scoreboard read a formidable 188/4 when the latter departed in the 34th over. Yet, relentless Afghanistan fought back again with another flurry of quick wickets, dismissing four within seven overs, including the all-important scalp of Mendis who had to contend with an 84-ball 92 after falling victim to a freak run-out. The Afghans looked on course to bowl out their opponents but Dimuth Wellalage and Maheesh Theekshana added another twist with an eighth-wicket partnership of 64 as the team ended up with a daunting total of 291/8, given the context of the game.

With the required run-rate reading a steep 7.86 in order to qualify, Afghanistan's hopes were dealt a huge blow when explosive openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran were dismissed by Kasun Rajitha within the first five overs. Naib, promoted up the order, responded with a quickfire 22 to add to his four wickets with the ball while Rahmat Shah put together a 40-ball 45 to help Afghanistan stay in the game. However, it all seemed to be slipping away once the latter fell in the 19th over as the required run rate climbed to almost 10 before Mohammad Nabi flipped the game around with an onslaught for the ages. The veteran registered the fastest fifty in Afghanistan's ODI history off just 24 deliveries, smashing six boundaries and five maximums in his knock of 64 at a strike rate of 200, thus bringing down the equation to 91 off 64 balls. Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi, who had provided support for both Shah and Nabi, continued plugging away with a run-a-ball half-century while Karim Janat continued the blitzkrieg with a 12-ball cameo for 22. But when both were outdone by Dinuth Wellalage in the same over, the Afghans still needed 55 in 32 deliveries runs for salvation. Rashid Khan and Najibullah Zadran heroics took it down to the wire, forcing a change in the DLS requirements to a six off the final four deliveries, but the Afghans seemed to be unaware of the altered scenario as they gave up once Mujeeb Ur Rahman failed to score the three required runs on the first ball of the 38th over. Number 11 Fazalhaq Farooqi blocked out the next three balls instead of attempting a big one and eventually lost his wicket to seal the loss.

What a day in cricket it was!

Nail biting!

Almost heart-attack!

Very very interesting game!

Man this hurts!

LOL!

This feel sick!

Mujeeb!

They do!

Sahi baat!

He never fails to impress us!

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