Sri Lanka survived a woeful batting collapse to beat Afghanistan by 34 runs in a rain-shortened World Cup contest on Tuesday.
The 1996 World Cup champions limped to 201 all out in the 37th over as Afghanistan grabbed nine wickets for 57 runs to give themselves a chance of a pulling off a shock win.
Afghanistan needed a rain-revised target of just 187 from 41 overs but they failed to gain any momentum in their run chase and completely lost their way after opener Mohammad Shahzad's dismissal in the fifth over led them to losing five wickets for just 23 runs.
They never managed to recover from that setback, with fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep being the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers as he claimed a career best four wickets for 31 runs as Afghanistan were bowled out for 152 in the 33rd over.
Chasing a curtailed total of 187 in 41 overs, Afghanistan got off to a steady start as openers Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai provided the team with a steady start by putting 34 runs together in five overs. However, Sri Lanka got the first breakthrough in the fifth over as Shahzad (7) was sent back to the pavilion by veteran Lasith Malinga.
Skipper Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran staged Afghanistan's comeback in the match as the duo put a 64-run stand. But Nuwan Pradeep dismissed Naib (23) in the 25th over to give Sri Lanka an upper hand in the match once again.
All-rounder Rashid Khan (2) also failed to do something substantial as he was sent back to the pavilion by Pradeep, as Afghanistan required 64 more runs for the win.
Sensing the kill, Sri Lankan skipper Karunaratne brought back his trump card and Malinga did not disappoint as he dismissed Dawlat Zadran (6) by bowling his trademark yorker.
Zadran hit two boundaries off Udana to bring the required runs down, but in search of a quick single he was run-out by the Sri Lankan skipper and his dismissal was the final nail in the coffin as Sri Lanka registered a 34-run victory.
Earlier, Sri Lanka collapsed to 182-8 as Afghanistan grabbed seven wickets in 11 overs to give themselves a chance of a big World Cup upset before rain halted play.
Sri Lanka made a promising start but fell apart in the middle order due to the wily spin of Mohammed Nabi and the seam bowling of Mohammad Shahzad.
After some good work by their openers, Sri Lanka made it to 144-1 before Nabi turned the match on its head with a brilliant spell of spin bowling in the 22nd over by grabbing three wickets in the space of five deliveries.
Sri Lanka slid steadily to 182-8 before play was paused due to rain.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Perera top-scored with 78 runs off 81 balls which included eight boundaries. But he ran out of partners at the other end and eventually holed out in desperation.
Both the teams have lost their opening games at the World Cup and a loss for Sri Lanka against minnows Afghanistan would put the 1996 world champions in danger of being knocked out of the tournament.