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Former champions make Asia Cup cricket final

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

DHAKA - Four-time champions Sri Lanka have thumped newcomers Afghanistan by 129 runs to reach the final of the Asia Cup in Dhaka.

The Islanders scored a challenging 6-253 with in-form Kumar Sangakkara hitting a solid 76 before they bowled their rivals out for a paltry 124 in 38.4 overs.

Sri Lanka won all their three matches to gain 12 points, leaving them to play a meaningless last game against hosts Bangladesh tomorrow before having a tilt at the title.

Afghanistan, who gave a good account of themselves by beating Bangladesh by 32 runs in their second match, found Sri Lanka's pace-cum spin attack too hot to handle and only captain Mohammad Nabi (37), Asghar Stanikzai (27) and Noor Ali Zadran (21) were among the run takers.

Nabi hit a six and three boundaries off 43 balls before he fell leg-before to spinner Chaturanga de Silva in the 33rd over.

Mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis took 3-11 in his seven overs while Thisara Perera chipped in with 3-29 in his full quota of ten overs.

Paceman Suranga Lakmal (2-30) and left-armer de Silva fetched 2-29 to complete the rout.

Only Nabi and Najibullah Zadran (11) could stay longer to put 48 runs for the sixth wicket before Afghanistan lost their last five wickets for a mere three runs.

Pakistan meet hosts Bangladesh today and need to win to meet Sri Lanka in Saturday's final.

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