DUBAI: Quick Launcher Fazalhaq Farooqi returned bowling numbers of 3-11 to help Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the opening match of the Asia Cup Twenty20 tournament on Saturday.
Afghanistan opted to field and knocked out Sri Lanka for a measly 105, their batsman-reviewed total of 10.1 overs in Dubai.
Southpaw Hazratullah Zazai, unbeaten on 37, and goaltender batsman Rahmanllah Gurbaz, who hit 40, scored 83 runs for the opening wicket to cement the dominance the bowlers started.
Afghanistan, in Group B with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, have made a resounding start to the campaign in the six-nation tournament which serves as preparation for the T20 World Cup in October-November in Australia.
Farooqi, a fast left-armer, stood out for Afghanistan after hitting back-to-back deliveries in the first set of innings to send Kusal Mendis and Charith Asalanka to the clubhouse for two and nothing.
Naveen-ul-Haq then sent Pathum Nissanka caught behind after the batsman considered the call on the pitch and the third referee upheld the decision despite no visible spike on the ultra-edge, leaving the batsman and the locker room stunned.
By then, Sri Lanka were struggling with just five runs on the board and three wickets in the first two overs.
Danushka Gunathilaka (17) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (38) tried to fight back with a boundary flurry in a 20-point sixth before spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman broke the 44-point stand.
The wickets continued to tumble with the 13th on two runs including Rajapaksa ending on a second attempt.
Chamika Karunaratne made it 31 to bring the team total to 100 before being beaten by Farooqi.
The Afghan openers came out full force as Gurbaz smashed three fours and four sixes in his 18-ball blitz before falling to Wanindu Hasaranga.
Zazai continued the attack with Ibrahim Zadran, who made it 15 before running out, to revive the Afghan fans and silence the Sri Lankan crowd.
India meet Pakistan in a highly anticipated Group A clash on Sunday at the same venue.

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