Defending champions Sri Lanka secured a six-wicket victory over Afghanistan in their ICC World T20 Super 10 opener at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.
The senior batsman's unbeaten 83 runs guided his team home in a challenging-looking chase with seven balls to spare.
Earlier, Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai led from the front with a fine half century as they overcame a slow start to post a challenging 153 for 7 in their 20 overs.
The Lankans stifled Afghanistan's top-order by reducing them to 51 for 4 after 11 overs before Stanikzai (62 off 47 balls) and Samiullah Shenwari (31 off 23) built the innings.
The duo stitched 61 off 33 balls for the fifth wicket as Stanikazai got a life twice, on 34 and 44 respectively.
Stanikzai was at his explosive best towards the later stages and hit Thisara Perera's widish full length delivery over long-on on one foot, reminding one of the trademark helicopter shot of India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
After Stanikzai's departure, left-hander Najibullah Zardan also inflicted some meaty blows with a four and six against Nuwan Kulasekara in the last over.
Afghanistan added 59 runs from the last five overs to put up a competitive total.
Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath was impressive, claiming two vital wickets and conceding only 24 runs off his four overs.
The Afghans, however, had a terrible start, with inform opener Mohammad Shahzad, who was instrumental in their qualification to the Super 10, looking out of sorts.
He had a miss-and-hit stay as Afghanistan crawled to six runs in the first two overs.
Noor Ali Zardan stepped up the run-rate with 20 off 23 balls, but Herath once again triggered a collapse before the Stanikzai led by example.