Afghanistan cruised to victory in a rain affected World Cup warm up match on Tuesday courtesy of a superb century from Rahmanullah Gurbaz (119) and a stylish 93 from Rahmat Shah, beating Sri Lanka by six wickets.
After winning the toss, Afghanistan chose to bowl first, which saw Sri Lanka posting a respectable total of 294 on the back of an excellent 158 from Kusal Mendis.
After Afghanistan lost opener Ibrahim Zadran early in their chase of 295, Gurbaz and Rahmat played steadily and were unbeaten on 53 and 51 respectively, when rain halted the play in the 21st over. After losing an hour of play to wet conditions, Afghanistan were set a revised target of 257 in 42 overs. When the match resumed, they needed 139 runs from 21.1 overs.
The break seemed to work in Afghanistan’s favor as Gurbaz and Rahmat upped the ante to stretch their second-wicket stand to a game-changing 212.
Gurbaz smashed 119 off 92 balls, hitting nine sixes and eight fours, while Rahmat slammed an 82-ball 93 with ten fours and three sixes. When both the batters retired out in the 32nd over, Afghanistan needed just 26 runs from ten overs. Najibullah Zadran and Azmatullah Omarzai completed the formalities.
While Afghanistan’s stellar victory is sure to give them a confidence boost for the mega event that gets underway on Thursday, October 5, Sri Lanka will be fairly disappointed with their performance as yet again they have fallen short against an Asian rival.
In other warm-up matches, Australia showcased their mettle by edging out Pakistan by 14 runs in a thrilling encounter that set the stage for an action-packed tournament opener,
The third warm-up match on Tuesday between India and the Netherlands was abandoned without a delivery bowled because of rain.
Now that warm-up matches are over, next up is the mega event every cricket fan has been waiting for. The 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup kicks off on Thursday, October 5, with a blockbuster clash between the two previous finalists. Reigning champions England take on New Zealand at the Narendra Modi International Stadium in Ahmedabad.