The co-hosts Sri Lanka and India booked their places in the semi-finals from Group ‘A’ of the 3rd ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, when they won their respective matches on Saturday, 8th December in Colombo.

India's Mayank Markande

Sri Lanka won a nail-biter at CCC Grounds beating the strong Afghanistan side by one wicket, while India comprehensively beat Oman by 6 wickets at R. Premadasa International Stadium.

Sri Lanka held their nerve in a cracking chase of 211 on a dry surface. Sri Lanka’s chase was orchestrated by Kamindu Mendis’ 71 before the last pair got them over the line. Earlier, after electing to bat first, Afghanistan posted only 210 at the back of Karim Janat’s 68.

Afghanistan lost two early wickets when the new-ball duo of Asitha Fernando and Jehan Daniel struck early to remove the openers. Janat and Shahidullah resurrected the Afghan innings with a fine 84-run stand for the 3rd wicket before the Lankan spinners got their act together.

Left-arm tweaker Lasith Ambuldeniya, playing his first match in the tournament bowled beautifully in the middle overs to wreak havoc in the Afghanistan middle order. He picked up three crucial wickets to have them 129 for 5, after being in the driver’s seat on 100 for 2.

Ambuldeniya was well supported by Ambidextrous spinner Kamindu Mendis, who captured 3 wickets for 46 runs. He also accounted for the wicket of main Afghanistan batsman Karim Janat, who top scored with a 99-ball knock of 68, which also consisted 6 fours and 3 sixes.

Even Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals as most of their batsmen failed to capitalize on their good starts. But, Kamindu Mendis held his end to anchor the Lankan chase.

They needed less than 50 runs when skipper Sammu Ashan fell in the 34th over, which triggered a minor collapse. Left-arm orthodox, Zia-ur-Rehman was the chief destroyer, picking up 3 wickets bowling his full quota of overs.

Mendis fell as the ninth wicket after yet another 70+ score. His knock had only eight boundaries. When Mendis was caught behind, Sri Lanka still had to get 14 runs in 29 balls. But, the last pair of Lasith Ambuldeniya and Asitha Fernando batted cautiously and nudged off the remaining to book their place in the semi-finals.

In the other match at R. Premadasa Stadium, India produced yet another clinical all-round display to get the better of Oman. One-drop batsman Aaqib Ilyas made breathtaking 117 off 122 balls with 14 fours after Oman elected to bat first. Ilyas’ 117 was the only highlight as Oman was bundled out for a below-par 203.

Right-arm seamer Atit Sheth removed the Omani openers early. But, Ilyas held the innings despite not getting any substantial help from the other end.

Right-arm leg-spinner Mayank Markande and off-spinning captain Jayant Yadav once again proved to be a match-winning spin twins as they shared 7 wickets amongst them. Markande took 4 scalps for only 41 runs while Yadav captured 3 wickets for 33 runs as India wrapped up the innings with more than five overs to spare.

Indian chase was never in danger as opening batsman Ankush Bains relied on his instinctive stroke-making abilities to pummel the Oman bowlers. He struck a fine 83 off 98 deliveries with 7 fours and 2 sixes. Bains shared a brilliant 128-run third wicket stand with Himmat Singh, who also made 63.

Oman’s best bowler was once again Jay Odedra, who took a 3-wicket haul, bowling his full quota of overs.

India cruised home in the 42nd over with wicket-keeper Simran Singh and Deepak Hooda constructing an unbroken 39-run partnership.

All four teams will have a rest day on Sunday. On Monday, the two-already qualified teams, India and Sri Lanka will battle for the top spot in Group ‘A’ at R. Premadasa, Colombo while Afghanistan and Oman will be hoping to finish off with a consolation win at CCC Grounds, Colombo.

Sat 8-Dec

Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan at CCC, Colombo
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat
Afghanistan: 210 all out off 47.5 overs (K.Janat 68, S.Kamal 38, R.Gurbaz 31; L.Embuldeniya 3-35, K.Mendis 3-46)
Sri Lanka: 211 for 9 off 49.2 overs (A.Fernando 34, A.Guneratne 32, K.Mendis 71, S.Ashan 34; Z.Rehman 3-33)
Player of the Match: Kamindu Mendis (Sri Lanka)

India vs Oman at RPICS, Colombo
Oman won the toss and chose to bat
Oman: 203 all out off 44.2 overs (A.Sulehri 117; J.Yadav 3-33, M.Markande 4-41)
India: 206 for 4 off 41.1 overs (A.Bains 83, H.Singh 63; J.Odedra 3-38)
Player of the Match: Mayank Markande (India)


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Filed December 8th, 2018