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Afghanistan wins by 60 runs

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Ibrahim Zadran struck 106 as Afghanistan’s top order set them up for a commanding 294 for 8, before the bowlers – Fazalhaq Farooqi, Yamin Ahmadzai, and Gulbadin Naib – ripped through Sri Lanka’s batting order, sharing nine wickets between them.

Sri Lanka provided some resistance, primarily through Pathum Nissanka, who kept the score moving in the early overs while wickets fell around him, and later through Wanindu Hasaranga, who was in scintillating batting form, even as he ran out of partners. But Afghanistan’s seamers had done too much damage. The margin of victory was a gaping 60 runs, Sri Lanka having been thoroughly outplayed on home turf. They never really seemed to have the measure of this big chase.

The loss now makes Sri Lanka’s automatic qualification into next year’s ODI World Cup even more unlikely, as they have only 62 points on the Super League table (which leaves them at 10th, with only the top eight qualifying), with just five matches to go. Afghanistan, meanwhile, take a big step towards sealing their World Cup place, with 110 points now (they are seventh), and plenty of games to play.

Before the quicks dismantled Sri Lanka’s top order, Afghanistan had laid a mighty platform. On a Pallekele surface that had decent pace and carry, but not a lot of turn, Afghanistan were rarely troubled by Sri Lanka’s seamers, in the first 40 overs at least. In addition to Ibrahim’s century, Afghanistan had half-centuries from Gurbaz, who hit 53 off 55, and Rahmat who made 52 off 64. The opening partnership was worth 84 off 88 balls; the second-wicket stand 118 off 141. After 38 overs, they were 202 for 8.

They didn’t quite nail the finish, even after Najibullah Zadran had them flying into the death overs with his 25-ball 42 that featured a six and five fours. But 295 was always going to be a tough target.

Where Gurbaz had had a little fortune, having been dropped at slip in the fifth over (by Dhananjaya de Silva, off the bowling of Kasun Rajitha), Ibrahim’s innings was chanceless. His first boundary was a sweetly-struck drive that went wide of mid-off, but he really got into it against Rajitha in the seventh over, crashing him square through the legside off successive deliveries.

Gurbaz was more aggressive through the powerplay, but Ibrahim was perhaps better through the middle overs, finding risk-free singles all around the wicket as he worked his way conscientiously to a 62-ball fifty. That milestone came up in the 24th over; he had not added to his boundary tally since the ninth.

There was one edge off Lahiru Kumara that flew past the keeper when he was on 55, but otherwise, the progress to triple figures was pretty smooth too. He got there not long after Rahmat – who had also accumulated nicely through the middle overs – departed, getting to the milestone with a swivel-pulled four off Kumara, off the 116th delivery he faced. He holed out against the bowling of Maheesh Theekshana in the 42nd over.

Sri Lanka pulled a little back through the death, conceding only 31 runs in the last five overs, in which they also claimed five wickets. This was largely down to Rajitha, whose last three overs cost only 12 runs. But Afghanistan had gained too much ground in the first 45.

The response was nervy from the early overs. Nissanka was given lbw but was saved by a review, in the third over. Next over, Kusal Mendis also reviewed an lbw decision against him off the bowling of Ahmadzai, but was unsuccessful. Dinesh Chandimal struck some nice boundaries, but was bowled by Farooqi in the seventh over. De Silva struck some even nicer boundaries, but was bowled by Gulbadin, off the inside edge, in the 11th.

Sri Lanka were well ahead of the required rate, but were 75 for 3. Then 90 for 4 when Gulbadin had Asalanka edging to slip. Then 137 for 5 when Dasun Shanaka holed out to deep midwicket off the same bowler.

They just kept losing wickets, though the required rate never climbed to unmanageable levels. Nissanka was out for an excellent 85 off 83 balls, edging Farooqi back on to his stumps. Dhananjaya Lakshan was bowled by a Farooqi yorker soon after.

This was all a shame, because Hasaranga was starting to go nuts. In the 31st over, bowled by Mohammad Nabi, Hasaranga banged a six over long off first ball, faced a dot, then cracked four consecutive fours through the offside to take 22 off the over. He kept finding the boundary, but Afghanistan kept finding wickets.

By the end, Hasaranga was turning down singles to keep the strike, but even what little balls the tailenders had to face, they did not deal with particularly well. Hasaranga was bowled for 66 off 46 at the end of the 38th over, ending Sri Lanka’s innings.
(espncricinfo.com)

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Expressways generate whopping income during Avurudu season

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The expressways have generated an income of Rs. 159,802,950 from April 10 – 13, Road Development Authority (RDA) says.

According to the Director of Expressway Operation Maintenance and Management Division – R.A.D. Kahatapitiya.

Over 4,350,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this period, he has added.
As many as 366,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this three-day period.

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Special transport arrangements to those returning to Colombo

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Special train services are in operation from this evening (April 14) for people to return to Colombo after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year holidays, the Railways Department said.

Deputy General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways –  N.J. Indipolage stated that accordingly, eight additional train journeys will be in operation from Badulla, Galle and Beliatta railway stations to Colombo Fort.

The Department of Railways also mentioned that the office trains will be operational as per usual from April 16.

Meanwhile, the National Transport Commission has said that special buses will be deployed to transport those who had gone to their hometowns during the New Year.
Bus associations have also stated that buses to Colombo will be operational.

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Local multi-day fishing trawler seized with ICE & heroin worth over Rs. 3798 Mn.

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In another successful intelligence operation of the Sri Lanka Navy, a local multi-day fishing trawler (01) carrying a large haul of narcotics, with 06 suspects aboard, were intercepted about 133 nautical miles (about 246 km) off Dondra, south of Sri Lanka. 

The operation also resulted in the seizure of another local one-day fishing trawler (01) with 04 suspects, believed to have been there to fetch the consignment of narcotics mid-sea. The operation was mounted by deploying Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship (SLCG) Samudraraksha which made the apprehension on 12th April 2024.

 The haul of narcotics included about 179kg and 906g of crystal methamphetamine (Ice) and about 83kg and 582g of heroin (with their packages). The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera arrived at the Galle Harbour on 13th April to inspect the consignment of narcotics held in this operation.
The Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard regularly patrol and conduct search operations along the island’s coast to prevent illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, stemming via sea routes.

During this dedicated operation based on naval intelligence, a suspicious multi-day fishing trawler, which was about 133 nautical miles (246 km) off the south coast of the island, was intercepted and searched by SLCG Samudraraksha. As the fishing trawler was suspected of smuggling a haul of crystal methamphetamine and heroin in 17 sacks, during the search, the narcotic-carrying trawler was held on 12th April, with 06 suspects aboard.

Additionally, SLCG Samudraraksha inspected another local one-day fishing trawler, which was plying suspiciously in the sea area. During the inspection, 04 suspects were apprehended, along with the trawler, on suspicion of attempting to exchange narcotics with the multi-day trawler previously seized.

Following a thorough search of the suspicious multi-day fishing trawler at the Galle Harbour on 13th April, authorities recovered 17 sacks containing crystal methamphetamine and heroin. The haul of crystal methamphetamine, weighing about 179kg and 906g (including packages), were in 129 packages, stuffed in 13 sacks and the stash of heroin, weighing about 83kg and 582g (including packages), were in 76 packages, contained in 04 sacks. The consignment of narcotics, along with the 06 suspects and the multi-day fishing trawler was handed over to the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) for onward legal action.

Moreover, the 04 individuals, along with the one-day fishing trawler, which were seized on suspicion of being involved in a drug exchange at sea, were also handed over to PNB for further legal action.

The individuals held in the operation are known to reside in the Weligama, Imaduwa, and Galle areas, ranging in age from 23 to 54 years old. Meanwhile, the gross street value of the consignment of drugs seized during this operation is believed to be more than Rs. 3798 million.

Including the recent confiscation, the Sri Lanka Navy has held drugs with a gross street value of over Rs. 9300 million during operations mounted so far in 2024. The Sri Lanka Navy – the country’s first line of defence is committed to coordinating with other law enforcement authorities, to carry out anti-drug operations of this nature in order to foil drug smuggling attempts being made in the guise of fishing.

(navy.lk)

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