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Avishka and Dasun star as Sri Lanka beat Oman



Top order batsman Avishka Fernando and captain Dasun Shanaka starred with the bat smashing half-centuries as Sri Lanka posted a competitive 162 for four against Oman at Al Amerat in the first T-20 International before Lahiru Kumara with his raw pace troubled the hosts as Sri Lanka completed a 19 run win yesterday.

Oman managed only 143 runs in their 20 overs as Lahiru Kumara finished with four for 30. All eight Omani wickets to fall went to pace. Nuwan Pradeep and Chamika Karunaratne finished with two wickets apiece.

Despite the win, there were a few grey areas for the Sri Lankans. Most fans did not understand the tactics the team was following.  With the World Cup just one week away, you would have expected the former champions to try out the players in their squad but instead they provided opportunities for players whom they are carrying as reserves.

Then their batting line-up posed many questions. Sri Lanka have been sloppy during the Power Play not possessing enough fire power to clear the boundary. The only guy who seems to be capable of clearing the boundary is Avishka Fernando and he was occupying number four slot instead of throwing caution to wind putting bowlers on the back foot as an opener.

Sri Lanka were in fact reduced to 21 for three with Dinesh Chandimal and Kamindu Mendis falling for ducks and Pathum Nissanka managing a single digit score. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Avishka steadied the ship briefly but Bhanuka fell on 15 with the total on 51 in the 11th over of the innings.

Sri Lanka were in a spot of bother then but an unbroken 111 run stand between Avishka and Shanaka bailed them out.

Avishka posted 83 off 59 balls with three fours and five sixes playing some elegant strokes while Shanaka’s 51 came off 24 balls with two fours and five sixes.

Sri Lanka’s quicks reduced Oman to 23 for four and they never recovered and finished on 143 for eight in their 20 overs.

Wicketkeeper batsman Naseem Kushi lower down the order provided some entertainment smashing 40 off 22 balls with two fours and four sixes.

The second T-20 International will take place on Saturday. It will be played under lights.

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Dushmantha Chameera’s four wickets leads bowlers’ party as Sri Lanka wrap up series




Dushmantha Chameera finished with 4 for 63

Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara blasted out Afghanistan’s top order, the spinners took care of the lower order, and then Sri Lanka’s top three raced to the target of 117 in 16 overs. It wasn’t much of a workout ahead of the World Cup Qualifier, which starts on June 19; but having lost the first match of this series, the resounding nature of their victories to end the series will nevertheless give Sri Lanka some confidence.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 120 for 1 (Dimuth Karunaratne 56*, Pathum Nissanka 51; Gulbadin Naib 1-19) beat Afghanistan 116 (Ibrahim Zadran 22,Mohammed Nabi 23, Gulbadin Naib 20; Dushmantha Chameera 4-63, Wanidu Hasaranga 3-7) by nine wickets

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Novak Djokovic & Carlos Alcaraz to meet in French Open 2023 semi-finals




Carlos Alcaraz won his first Grand Slam title at the 2022 US Open (pic BBC)

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz will face Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals after crushing Stefanos Tsitsipas to set up the highly anticipated clash.

Spain’s Alcaraz, 20, won 6-2 6-1 7-6 (7-5) against the Greek fifth seed.

Serbia’s Djokovic survived a quarter-final scare from Karen Khachanov to keep his bid for a record 23rd men’s Grand Slam singles title alive.  Djokovic, 36, was in danger of falling two sets behind against the Russian but prevailed 4-6 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-4.

The third seed could become the first man to win all four majors at least three times. But if he is going to do that he must come through his toughest test yet when he meets US Open champion Alcaraz in the last four on Friday.

(BBC Sports)

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Sri Lanka confident World Cup qualifiers will go well



Angelo Mathews bats during training at Suriyawewa ahead of the third ODI against Afghanistan.

Rex Clementine
at Suriyawewa

Having failed to qualify automatically for the World Cup later this year, Sri Lanka will be flying shortly to Zimbabwe to secure one of the two remaining slots for the sport’s showpiece event. But before that they have got to finish off the ODI series against Afghanistan and the former champions will be hoping that they will be able to clinch the series prior to flying off to Harare.

After losing the first ODI by six wickets, Sri Lanka bounced back to square the series with a 132-run win on Sunday. That was a match where they basically produced the perfect game and ticked all the boxes.

The top order gave a solid start before the middle order capitalized on it and the lower middle order finished things off in style scoring 109 runs from the last ten overs. Sri Lanka piled up 323 for six and Afghanistan were never in the hunt as they were shot out for 191.

“The last game was a perfect exhibition of our plans. Everything was executed well. Since we had wickets in hand we could take risks. We could double the score and that was the plan. That’s what we want to do,” Sri Lanka’s Batting Coach Naveed Nawaz told journalists.

Prior to this series, we had a free period and we worked a lot on players’ fitness at the High-Performance Center. During this series we brought in a dietician and planned our food patterns. There is also a psychologist around. This is all done in a bid to establish whatever we have lost in the last few years,” Nawaz added.

While Sri Lanka are fretting over World Cup qualifications, there’s no such trouble for Afghanistan. Their captain Hashmatullah Shahidi told journalists that they will be one of the dark horses during the World Cup.

“Our ratings are improving day by day and match by match. We believe that we can do something special in this World Cup. We will be one of the best teams in the World Cup. We are the dark horses. The Asian conditions will suit our spin bowlers and we are excited,” Hashmatullah Shahidi said.

For today’s series decider leg-spinner Rashid Khan is expected to make a comeback having missed the first two ODIs due to a back injury.

“He is obviously our star performer. We didn’t want to take any risks with him as we have the Asia Cup and the World Cup. We will assess his situation during training and make a call whether he is ready to feature in the final game. It will mean a lot to us to come here to Sri Lanka and beat them in their own backyard,” the Afghan captain said.

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