T20 World Cup: Hasaranga, de Silva star as Sri Lanka defeat Afghanistan to keep semi-final hopes alive

Brisbane : Wanindu Hasaranga's 3/13 restricted Afghanistan to 144/8 before Dhananjaya de Silva's unbeaten 66 helped Sri Lanka chase the target down with six wickets and nine balls to spare.

Brisbane: Dhananjaya de Silva scored an unbeaten 66 as Sri Lanka kept their slim Twenty20 World Cup hopes alive with a six-wicket win over Afghanistan at the Gabba in Brisbane on Tuesday. The Asia Cup champions moved to four points in Group 1 and can still make the semi-finals, but they need other results to go their way.

Group 1 leaders New Zealand were playing England, who have three points, in a later game at the Gabba Tuesday after Australia beat Ireland on Monday to move level on five points at the top but behind the Black Caps on net run rate.

The loss means Afghanistan are eliminated as they cannot make the semi-finals with one group match against Australia remaining after having two washouts and a opening defeat to England. Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi won the toss and chose to bat but Sri Lanka restricted them to 144-8, thanks largely to a fine spell from leg-spinner and player of the match Wanindu Hasaranga.

The Sri Lankan run chase got off to a poor start when Mujeeb Ur Rahman spun one back to bowl Pathum Nissanka for 10.

Kusal Mendis and de Silva recovered and took the score to 46 before Afghanistan trump card, leg-spinner Rashid Khan, drew a top edge from Mendis, giving keeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz a simple catch. Khan took the next wicket when Charith Asalanka was caught by Azmat Omarzai on the boundary for 19 but by then Sri Lanka had reached 100 and had taken control of the run chase. De Silva played a perfectly measured innings, scoring his stylish 66 from 42 deliveries to guide the Sri Lankans home.