Sri Lanka outsmarted Afghanistan to win the opening match of the Super 4 stage by four wickets at the Asia Cup 2022 on Saturday.
Danushka Gunathilaka (33) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (31) profited from dropped catches to carry Sri Lanka to a winning 179-6 with five balls to spare and avenged a heavy loss to the Afghans in the group stage.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz's outstanding 84 off 45 balls helped Afghanistan, which was given the opportunity to bat, get off to a fast start. However, Sri Lanka brought them back in the last overs to limit them to 175-6.
Kusal Mendis (36) and Pathum Nissanka (35) gave Sri Lanka's run chase an explosive start with 62 off 39 balls, paying off the team's aggressive strategy. In the powerplay, Mendis blasted two sixes against crucial spinner Rashid Khan.
Rashid struggled in a Twenty20 match, giving up 39 runs in his first four overs before clean bowling Gunathilaka in the last over.
In the span of three overs, both of Sri Lanka's openers lost their lives, but Gunathilaka and Rajapaksa continued to rule to chase down a high total for the second straight game.
On Sunday, India and Pakistan will meet.