Sri Lanka edges Afghanistan by 4 runs in T20 series opener

DAMBULLA, Sri Lanka — Afghanistan narrowly missed victory in the opening match of the T20 series, falling short by just four runs against hosts Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka, struggling after a batting collapse, was all out for 160 in the final over. Afghanistan’s opener Ibrahim Zadran scored an unbeaten 67, but lacked support. The next highest scorer, Karim Janat, made 20 before being dismissed by Pathirana.

Pathirana, 21, playing only his second T20 match, was named man of the match. His late dismissals left Afghanistan 11 runs short in the second-to-last over.

“The game was hanging in the balance,” Pathirana said. “I was trying to turn the game in our favor, and I thought I did the job for the team.”

Afghanistan’s Fazalhaq Farooqi claimed three wickets, contributing to Sri Lanka’s late collapse.

Sri Lanka looked solid at 146-5 with four overs left, but lost its last five wickets for 14 runs in 25 balls.

Wanindu Hasaranga, the all-rounder captain, led Sri Lanka with 67 runs after moving himself to number six. He formed a 72-run partnership with Sadeera Samarawickrama, marking his second T20 half-century with a boundary off Qais Ahmed.

Their stand ended when Samarawickrama was run out after a direct hit from Ibrahim Zadran. Hasaranga was caught soon after by Zadran off Naveen-ul-Haq.

Sri Lanka won the tour’s sole Test and swept the ODI series 3-0 against Afghanistan.

The series continues with two more T20 matches in Dambulla on Monday and Wednesday.