A week ago, Sri Lanka were bowled out for just 105 runs by Afghanistan in the Asia Cup opener. Had to lose by 8 wickets. Those Lankans defeated Bangladesh in a breathtaking match in the Super Four. There was another meeting with Afghanistan and a great 4-wicket win, which Vanuka Rajapaksa called a 22-yard stormer to rescue the team from embarrassment.
Sri Lanka set a target of 176 runs in Sharjah on Saturday. Afghanistan were definite favorites from the previous match experience. But the Lankan batsmen gave a great response. Won by 4 wickets with 5 balls in hand. Vanuka scored 31 runs off 14 balls with 4 fours and 1 six. He was dismissed in the penultimate over.
After the dismissal of Dasun Shanaka, Vanuka went into bat for the team’s 119 runs. Dropping at number six, Danushka made an important partnership of 32 runs with Gunathilaka. He prepared to make a storm as soon as he came down to bat, ‘When I came down to bat, I immediately realized that the wicket is good for batting. 175 runs seemed correct to us. The boys did great and it was a great win for us.’
Bhanuka said this win is a curse for the Lankans. They wanted to prove that the questions raised about their ability after the group stage defeat were not justified. He said, ‘It was our curse. Because in the previous match we were bowled out for 105 runs against Afghanistan, which was embarrassing. So we wanted to turn around and show the countrymen that we are not so bad.’
As he batted at number three in the Punjab Kings jersey in the IPL, the team management thought of making him bat in the same position in the national team. But he was tasked with strengthening the middle order. Vanuka said, ‘I batted at number three in the IPL and when I came back to the Sri Lanka squad, they initially wanted me to bat at number three. But they later asked me to bat at number five or six to strengthen the middle order.’