Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi and star spinner Rashid Khan took two wickets apiece to skittle the Sri Lankans out, who lost by 137 runs to Bangladesh in their opening Group B fixture, for just 158 with 52 balls to spare.
Rahmat Shah had earlier top-scored with 72 as Afghanistan made 249 all out from their 50 overs, although they struggled in the final nine overs after the batsman was caught in the deep with the score at 190 for four.
Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera did the damage with a haul of five for 55, four of them inside his final eight balls, but his efforts were to prove in vain.
Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan lauded his players. He said: “Every batsman executed his plans. We spoke of partnerships especially. Credit to our fielders, they did well. When you want to play cricket for winning, you play positively. Our spinners, batsmen and bowlers did well. I would like to say thanks to the crowd for their support.”
Afghanistan skipper Asghar Afghan won the toss and opted to bat in the Asia Cup Group B match at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Monday.
Sri Lanka, who lost the opening match to Bangladesh by 137 runs in Dubai, brought in spinner Akila Dananjaya, Shehan Jayasriya and Niroshan Dickwella in the three changes from the first game.
Out goes Dilruwan Perera, Amila Aponso and Suranga Lakmal. Pakistan, title holders India and Hong Kong are in Group A.
Afghanistan brought up the 50-run mark but Dananjaya got the first wicket of the game when he dismissed Shahzad. Afghanistan continued to pile on the runs but Sri Lanka struck twice in quick succession when Dhananjaya removed Ihsanullah while Asghar Afghan was out for 1.
Thisara Perera took five wickets while Rahmat Shah smashed 72 as Afghanistan were all out for 249.
In their reply, Mujeeb Ur Rahman got one wicket while Afghanistan claimed a run-out to leave Sri Lanka 68-2 after the 16 overs.
Wickets continued to fall, making Sri Lanka’s task even more difficult. Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman were among the wicket-takers as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 158 and crash out of the tournament.
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Skipper Rohit Sharma brushed aside talk of Pakistan but hinted India could make changes to their starting line-up to deal with their threat once they have assessed the wicket conditions in their Asia Cup opener against Hong Kong on Tuesday.
The six-time champions begin their quest for another Asian title at Dubai International Stadium when they take on minnows Hong Kong in Group B.
However much of the talk in the build-up since the draw was revealed was another installment of cricket’s fiercest rivalry when India take on Pakistan at the same venue on Wednesday.
But for Team India, the focus is purely on Hong Kong although Rohit admitted the wicket, which has been just laid for the tournament, will give them a better idea of whether they need to make any adjustments for the eagerly-anticipated tie.
“Right now, we are not focusing on Pakistan because tomorrow we are playing Hong Kong,” Rohit told media at Dubai’s ICC Academy. “Obviously we have to focus on that particular team but once we finished with Hong Kong game, we will look at Pakistan and see what their strengths and weaknesses are.
“For us, we haven’t played here (in the UAE). The last time we played here was during the 2014 IPL. It’s been a long time since we played in this particular venue (Dubai International Stadium) so tomorrow is a perfect chance to assess the conditions and wicket, dimension of the ground. It is important to consider all that and put that into the game.
“From what I saw of the two games so far (in this tournament), the wickets doesn’t look that bad. We know it will get slower and slower as the game progresses. It might mean we have to adapt to that and based on the conditions we may have to play our starting 11 like that.”