ANI Photo | “It was not communicated to us that we could win in 38.1 overs”: Afghanistan coach Trott after loss to Sri Lanka

Following his side’s narrow two-run loss to Sri Lanka in their Asia Cup match, Afghanistan head coach Jonathan Trott said that his team was unaware of the calculations that gave them a chance of qualifying for Super Four stage even if they had not chased the 292-run target in stipulated 37.1 overs against the defending champions.
Kasun Rajitha’s four-wicket haul and Dhananjaya de Silva’s two wickets in the crucial 38th over helped Sri Lanka sneak home by two runs against a spirited Afghanistan to book a Super 4 spot in the Asia Cup 2023 at the match played at Gaddafi Stadium here on Tuesday. 
Afghanistan needed to chase down 292 runs in 37.1 overs to qualify for the Super Four stage. At the end of the 37th over, Afghanistan was 289/8 and still in the game. But Mujeeb ur Rahman was caught at long-on, following which the non-striker Rashid Khan sank to his knees, believing that Afghanistan had fumbled their chance. 
But, they were alive. They could have finished above Sri Lanka’s net-run-rate had they reached 293 after 37.2 overs, 294 after 37.3, 295 after 37.5 overs, 296 after 38 overs, or 297 after 38.1 overs. Simply a big hit by the next batter Fazalhaq Farooqi or giving the strike to Rashid could have helped them finish the game easily. 
But instead, Fazalhaq blocked the next two balls, before he was trapped leg-before-wicket while trying to defend. Afghanistan folded for 289 in 37.4 overs and lost by two runs. Lack of awareness about the net-run-rate equation resulted in Afghanistan’s loss despite Rashid, a ferocious ball-striker, being there at the other end. Afghanistan walk out of the tournament without any win in their two group-stage games. 
After the match, Trott said that his team was not informed of the NRR requirements. 
“We were never communicated those calculations. All we were communicated was we needed to win in 37.1 overs. We were not told what the overs in which we could get 295 or 297, That we could win in 38.1 overs was never communicated to us,” said Trott as quoted by ESPNCricinfo. 
While teams rely on match officials to get information on NRR to some extent, a lot of it is brought to the team by their own set of analysts. 
Trott felt his bowlers could have done better in the tournament. 
“I do not think there is one reason we lost the game. There are areas of the game we could have done better [in] and that goes for today’s game and the one against Bangladesh. We got some things horribly wrong in a few areas and it has cost us. It would be nice if we had bowled them out a bit cheaper. But it was not to be,” concluded Trott. 
Coming to the match, solid top-order performances from Pathum Nissanka (41 in 40 balls with six fours), Dimuth Karunaratne (32 in 35 balls with six fours) and Kusal Mendis (92 in 84 balls with six fours and three sixes) provided SL with a great start after electing to bat first. 
Later, middle-order, lower-order contributions from Charith Asalanka (36 in 43 balls, with two fours and a six), Dunith Wellalage (33 in 39 balls with three fours and a six) and Maheesh Theekshana (28 in 24 balls with two fours and a six) pushed SL to 291/8 in 50 overs. 
Gulbadin Naib (4/60) and Rashid Khan (2/63) were the pick of the bowlers for Afghans. 
In the chase of 292, Afghanistan lost their openers early, but knocks from Gulbadin Naib (22 in 16 balls with four fours), Rahmat Shah (45 in 40 balls with five fours and a six), Hashmatullah Shahidi (59 in 66 balls with three fours and a six) and Mohammed Nabi (65 in 32 balls with six fours and five sixes) pulled Afghanistan back into the game. 
Karim Janat (22 in 13 balls with a four and two sixes), Najibullah Zadran (23 in 15 balls with a four and two sixes) and Rashid Khan (27 in 16 balls, with four boundaries and a six) scored well, but the brilliance of Dhanajaya (2/12), Dunith (2/36) and Kasun Rajitha (4/79) in final overs left them two runs short of a win. 
Sri Lanka advances to Super Four Stage with four points, two wins in two matches along with Bangladesh (two points, one win and a loss in two matches) from their group. From another group, India and Pakistan have advanced. (ANI)

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