#CWC15: Jayawardene steers Sri Lanka to win over Afghanistan

MATCH 12: Mahela Jayawardene stroked his 19th One-Day International century as Sri Lanka won an exciting contest against Afghanistan by four wickets in Dunedin.

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Sri Lanka had chosen to bowl first at the University Oval on Sunday under heavy skies and bowled out their opposition for 232 in 49.4 overs.

Asghar Stanikzai (54) made his fourth ODI half-century and with Samiullah Shenwari (38) had added 88 for the third wicket.

As the foot hit the gas, Stanikzai holed out to Jeevan Mendis at long-on off Rangana Herath. His innings included one six and 5 fours. Shenwari fell a few overs later, caught by Mathews off Thisara Perera.

Sri Lanka’s chase got off to a sorry start as Lahiru Thirimanne lost his wicket to the first ball of the innings from Dawlat Zadran.

Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakarra were also gone inside the first six overs and at 18 for three, and then 51 for four, Afghanistan had their tails up as they chased a historic win.

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Thisara Perera cracked 46 from 26 balls to see Sri Lanka home

Jayawardena was not going to be budged however. He added 126 for the fifth wicket with his captain, Angelo Matthews, to restore the equilibrium.

Mathews had taken three wickets in Afghanistan’s knock and proved to be in good touch with the bat too before being run out by Mohammad Nabi when on 44.

Jayawardena fell moments later for exactly 100 in 120-balls and Afghanistan were back in the game with 55 still required from 52 balls. But Thisara Perera walloped 47 from 26 balls with 6 fours and a six to combine with Jeevan Mendis to secure Sri Lanka’s first win of the tournament.

Sri Lanka had 10 balls to spare as they crossed the winning line. The match was far more nervy and close than that suggests.

Afghanistan have already shown in their debut World Cup that they can mix it with the big boys, but will be hoping they can grab a win at some stage from the good positions they are finding themselves in.

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James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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