India remained the only unbeaten team in the group stages of the 3rd ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, while Afghanistan managed a consolation win in the final day of the group stage matches, played on 10th December, Monday in Colombo.

India were propelled by Himmat Singh’s unbeaten 124, which carried them home against the co-hosts, Sri Lanka at R. Premadasa Stadium in a high-scoring chase, while Afghanistan skipper Najibullah Zadran’s all-round performances helped his team triumph over Oman at CCC Grounds.

Afghanistan comprehensively defeated Oman by 112 runs in their battle for the wooden spoon in group A. Omani bowlers struck early after Afghanistan opted to bat first. Kalemullah and Bilal Khan made early inroads with the ball, while off-spinner Jay Odedra ran through the Afghanistan middle-order.

The Afghans were looking down the barrel at 88 for 7 when skipper Najibullah Zadran was joined by Qais Ahmed. They added a match-winning 117-run stand for the 8th eight to change fortunes for Afghanistan.

Zadran counter-attacked to great effect slamming 10 fours and 2 massive sixes during his 67-ball 83. Ahmed too used the long handle well, smashing 4 sixes and 5 fours to accumulate a valuable 66 off 77 deliveries.

A couple of handy contributions from Zia-ur-Rehman (14) and Wafadar Momand (14) helped Afghanistan go past the 250-run mark.

Chasing a daunting target, Oman lost wickets at regular intervals as they never got their chase in order. They found it difficult to overcome the Afghanistan bowlers as they threw away wickets, which did not help their cause.

Middle-order batsman Moonamchery Michal played a fine knock of 54 off 70 balls for Oman. But, his efforts went in vain as they were bundled out for just 140 runs in the 40th over. Karim Janat, Najibullah Zadran and Zia-ur-Rehman captured two wickets apiece for the winners.

In the clash for the top spot of Group A, Sri Lanka posted a decent score of 260 on the board after electing to bat first.

Avishka Fernando, who opened in the previous matches, came in at number three and slammed a fine, well calculated 80 in 106 balls to anchor the Lankan innings. His second half-century in the tournament had six fours and one six.

Sri Lanka were down to six wickets before the final powerplay as the Indian pacers, Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna making inroads in the Lankan middle order.

Experienced Asela Gunaratne played a gem of an innings to finish the Sri Lankan innings with a flourish. His unbeaten 67 came in just 64 deliveries with 7 fours as India were set a target of 261.

Fast-bowler Asitha Fernando trapped Atharwa Taide plumb in front in the very first ball of the Indian chase. Taide’s opening partner Ruturaj Gaikwad and two down batsman Himmat Singh constructed an invaluable 148-run stand for the third wicket to set up the chase.

Both Gaikwad and Singh maneuvered the field brilliantly to get easy singles and score the odd boundary to keep the scoreboard ticking. Gaikwad played out 73 balls to score his 67, which also consisted 5 fours and 1 six.

Singh was the pillar of strength in the Indian innings as he remained unbeaten scoring a magnificent 126 off 140 balls with 12 fours and 2 sixes. He scored the winning runs as India reached the target with 15 balls to spare.

Ambidextrous spinner Kamindu Mendis picked up three wickets for Sri Lanka. But, Singh’s valiant knock was too much for Sri Lanka, who had already qualified for the semi-finals.

Mon 10-Dec

Sri Lanka vs India at RPICS, Colombo
Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat
Sri Lanka: 260 for 7 off 50 overs (A.Fernando 80, S.Jayasuriya 38, A.Guneratne 67*; S.Mavi 3-62)
India: 261 for 6 off 47.3 overs (R.Gaikwad 67, H.Singh 126*; K.Mendis 3-51)
Player of the Match: Himmat Singh (India)

Afghanistan vs Oman at CCC, Colombo
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat
Afghanistan: 252 all out off 49.1 overs (N.Zadran 83, Q.Kamawal 66; Kaleemullah 3-39)
Oman: 140 all out off 39.5 overs (J.Singh 30, S.Michal 54)
Player of the Match: Najibullah Zadran (Afghanistan)


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Filed December 10th, 2018