In the third and final ODI between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, the hosts came up on top in a thrilling contest to register a memorable victory and level the series.
Chasing 314, Sri Lanka got off to a good start with openers Pathum Nissanka (35) and Kusal Mendis (67) adding over a hundred runs for the first wicket, but they played slowly. The spin attack of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan started creating problems, with Rashid, in particular, destroying the middle order. The spin duo reduced Sri Lanka to 164/4 in 30.3 overs.
Then Charith Asalanka and captain Dasun Shanaka calmed things down by adding a crucial partnership of 79 runs for the fifth wicket. However, Rashid again brought back Afghanistan by removing Shanaka and Wanindu Hasaranga as the Islanders were reeling at 249/6 after 43.1 overs, with Asalanka soldiering on with a cramp.
However, an unlikely hero emerged in the form of youngster Dunith Wellalage, who accelerated the run flow by smashing a few boundaries when Sri Lanka looked out of the chase. Asalanka, on the other hand, continued chipping the runs and took Sri Lanka over the finish line with a winning six over deep mid-wicket, playing a splendid knock of 83 unbeaten off 72 balls.
Earlier, Ibrahim Zadran, who had smashed a tremendous hundred in the series opener, once again shined with the bat and hit another century. The Afghan opener scored 162 off 138 balls, including 15 fours and 4 sixes, as the tourists ended up reaching 313/8 in their allotted 50 overs.
“Really happy with this performance. We were behind this chase, but we came out of it strong. I believe in my captain, he’s a magnificent player, and his 40-odd runs were very helpful. I believed all the way, I know Wella (Wellalage) is a good player. The leg is better now, but at some stages, I thought if I must come out. Glad I fought through it,” said Asalanka after the match.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) November 30, 2022
— Bhanuka Rajapaksa (@BhanukaRajapak3) November 30, 2022
— Angelo Mathews (@Angelo69Mathews) November 30, 2022
— Russel Arnold (@RusselArnold69) November 30, 2022
Memorable win to square the series 1-1. At the break when the chips were down mostly all the batters stood up when it mattered the most. As a batting group it is a proud day to be part of history created chasing a record score. Good finishing touches Charith & Dunith👍🏽 #slvafg
— Farveez Maharoof (@farveezmaharoof) November 30, 2022
Fantastic win from SL! What a run-chase. Asalanka finishes with a six. Excellent knock. Ibrahim (162 runs), Najib (77 runs) & Rashid (4/37) were exceptional but their efforts were not good enough to give Afghanistan a series win.
— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) November 30, 2022
𝘈 𝘣𝘳𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘤𝘬, 𝘢𝘯 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢 𝘯𝘢𝘪𝘭 𝘣𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘯! 🙌🏻
Charith Asalanka, you beauty 😍
— Abu Dhabi Knight Riders (@ADKRiders) November 30, 2022
Sri Lanka complete the highest run chase at Pallekele. More importantly ten valuable points in the World Cup Super League. They are still in the hunt. Charith Asalanka back to the wall knock battling with cramps. Seventh wicket stand 65 in 39 balls. Superb cameo from Wellalage. pic.twitter.com/LE59vLe8G9
— Rex Clementine (@RexClementine) November 30, 2022
Charith Asalanka, take a bow! 83* off 72 balls for him against Afghanistan tonight, he's averaging 47 and striking at 90 in his ODI career. He combined with Sri Lanka's U19 star Dunith Wellalage to score 65 runs off 39 balls in the partnership, what a chase! #SLvAFG
— Farid Khan (@_FaridKhan) November 30, 2022
— Dilka Sirimanna (@DilkaSirimanna) November 30, 2022
What a run chase! 👏
Sri Lanka pull off a brilliant win to level the series 🤩
— ICC (@ICC) November 30, 2022