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Rediff.com  » Cricket » The mystery behind Afghanistan's shock loss to Sri Lanka

The mystery behind Afghanistan's shock loss to Sri Lanka

September 06, 2023 13:11 IST
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IMAGE: Afghanistan messed up the net run rate calculations to suffer a narrow two-run defeat against Sri Lanka. Photograph: Afghanistan Cricket Board/X

Afghanistan head coach Jonathan Trott said his team were unaware of the run rate calculations during his team's shocking two-run loss against Sri Lanka, which saw them narrowly miss out on the place in the Super 4s of the Asia Cup, in Lahore on Tuesday,

 

Kasun Rajitha's four-wicket haul and Dhananjaya de Silva's two wickets in the crucial 38th over helped Sri Lanka sneak home by two runs against a spirited Afghanistan to book a Super 4s spot in the Asia Cup 2023 match at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Afghanistan, who needed to chase the 292-run target in 37.1 overs, looked all set for victory and a place in the Super 4s as they well-placed on 289/8 at the end of the 37th over, with three needed from one ball with two wickets in hand.

But Mujeeb ur Rahman was caught at long-on, following which the non-striker Rashid Khan sank to his knees, believing that Afghanistan had fumbled their chance.

However, their hopes were still alive. They could have finished above Sri Lanka's net-run-rate had they reached 293 after 37.2 overs, 294 after 37.3, 295 after 37.5 overs, 296 after 38 overs, or 297 after 38.1 overs.

Simply a big hit by the next batter Fazalhaq Farooqi or giving the strike to the well-set Rashid could have helped them finish the game easily.

Instead, Fazalhaq blocked the next two balls, before he was trapped leg before wicket while trying to defend as Afghanistan folded for 289 in 37.4 overs and lost by two runs.

Lack of awareness about the net-run-rate equation resulted in Afghanistan's loss despite Rashid, a ferocious ball-striker, being there at the other end.

After the match, Trott said that his team was not informed of the net run rate requirements.

"We were never communicated those calculations. All we were communicated was we needed to win in 37.1 overs. We were not told what the overs in which we could get 295 or 297, That we could win in 38.1 overs was never communicated to us," Trott said after the match.

While teams rely on match officials to get information on NRR to some extent, a lot of it is brought to the team by their own set of analysts.

Trott felt his bowlers could have done better in the tournament.

"I do not think there is one reason we lost the game. There are areas of the game we could have done better and that goes for today's game and the one against Bangladesh. We got some things horribly wrong in a few areas and it has cost us. It would be nice if we had bowled them out a bit cheaper. But it was not to be," the Englishman added.

Sri Lanka along with India, Pakistan and Bangladesh qualified for the Super 4s stage, with the two top teams advancing to the final on September 17.

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