Sri Lankans (above) comfortably tamed Afghanistan by six wickets © AFP (File Photo)
Sri Lankans (above) comfortably tamed Afghanistan by six wickets © AFP (File Photo)

With the Super 10 stage of the ongoing ICC World T20 2016 already producing some interesting contests, it was another hard-fought game between the defending champions Sri Lanka and unexpected entry Afghanistan, as the Lankans comfortably tamed them by six wickets, in the Group 1, Match 16 at the historic Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on Thursday. Overall, it was an all-round performance from both the sides. The match definitely produced quite a few highlights in both the innings and Ayush Gupta pens down the highlights witnessed with some stunning innings from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in the match on Thursday. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, T20 World Cup 2016, Super 10 Group 1, Match 16 at Kolkata

Asghar Stanikzai’s startling innings: With most of the Afghanistan batting line-up unable to put on a stellar show with the bat, it was the knock from the skipper Asghar Stanikzai, who lead from the front being the top-scorer of 62, that heavily allowed Afghanistan to post a par average total of 153. It was his third Twenty20 International (T20I) half-century, as his half-century came off 47 deliveries, including three boundaries and four sixes, along with a strike rate of 132.

Samiullah Shenwari’s subtle knock: The second best batsman in the Afghanistan innings was Samiullah Shenwari who who gave subtle push scoring 31 that allowed Afghanistan to provide a strong finishing touch to their innings and helped the captain in reaching the target of 153. His run score of 31 came off from 14 deliveries including three boundaries and couple of sixes, along with a strike rate of 221. READ: Tillakaratne Dilshan’s half-century guides Sri Lanka to 6-wicket win over

Stanikzai-Shenwari’s burly stand of 61: Although Stanikzai played remained the top-scorer with 62 runs, it included an almost similar stand with Shenwari, as both the batsmen put up a burly stand of 61 runs, that indeed allowed Afghanistan to go past 150-plus. The stand was the pillar of the Afghanistan innings, as Stanikzai contributed 29, while Shenwari contributed 31 to bring out a strong partnership.

Thisara Perera’s crucial three-wicket haul: It was the Sri Lankan bowling that indeed troubled the Afghanistan batsmen initially, as Thisara Perera claimed three crucial wickets of Stanikzai, Karim Sadiq and Shafiqullah, that allowed Sri Lankans to escape a heavy total, as they seem to do so while Stanikzai was on the crease. It was his breakthrough that could have possibly saved the Sri Lankans from an upset. READ: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, T20 World Cup 2016, Super 10 Group 1, Match 16 at Kolkata,

Tillakaratne Dilshan’s match-winning innings: The Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan played a crucial role providing a match-winning innings as he smashed 83 runs, which included his 13th T20I half-century, and batted out until the end to see off the Lankans return home. His innings came off 56 deliveries, including eight boundaries and three sixes, along with a strike rate of 148, which simply took the game away from Afghanistan.

Disnesh Chandimal-Tillakaratne Dilshan’s opening partnership: It was not just Dilshan, but a strong opening stand from the Sri Lanka’s opening batsmen in the form of Dinesh Chandimal and Dilshan himself, who put up stand of 41 runs initially, made the pillar of the Sri Lankan batting innings. Both contributed 18 and 23, respectively, as they made the job for the incoming batsmen easier.

Tillakaratne Dilshan-Angelo Mathews crucial element: In the final highlight of the innings, it was the crucial and match-winning stand between Dilshan and Angelo Mathews of 42 that indeed allowed Sri Lanka to finish the match with an ease. Both the batsmen contributed 20 and 21, respectively, as the bowlers were unable to get the better of them, thus allowing them to finish off the game in style. READ: ICC World T20 2016: Do Afghanistan possess a threat?

Fielding Mishaps by Afghanistan: Now this is a bonus, but an important highlight of the game as the Afghanistan fielders had a poor day on the field, and it was visible through their terrible fielding with the mishaps, resulting in dropped catches, and also boundaries gave the Lankan batsmen a number of lifelines and free runs, in order to allow Lanka win and finish the game with an ease.

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer and is also a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) maniac. He can be followed on Twitter @Ayush24x7)