Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 27 February 2011





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Pakistan win a thriller

Pakistan maintained their unbeaten record against Sri Lanka in World Cup cricket by chalking up a close 11 run victory in a Group ‘A’ game at the R. Premadasa International Cricket stadium, here today.

The Lankans failed to capitalize on a fine opening and two missed chances by Pakistan and could make only 266 for 9. Akmal missed stumping Sangakkara on 33 off Rehman at 145 and Chamara Silva was dropped by Rehman on 16 off Uma Gul with the score on 149. However Silva went on to make 57 in 78 balls with 5 fours. Sangakkara made 49 in 61 balls with 2 fours and a six.

It was insensible batting that led to Sri Lanka’s defeat. Had they approached their target with more purpose they could have won this game. They had the batsmen to do it, but they set about it the wrong way.

Skipper Afridi led from the front once again as his figures of 4 for 34 in 10 will show.

Sri Lanka got off to a steady start with openers Upul Tharanga 33 with 6 fours in 43 balls and Tillekeratne Dilshan 41 with 5 fours in 55 balls putting on 76 for the first wicket.

But once Tharanga went at 76, they lost three wickets for 20 runs. That of Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardena for 2 and Thilan Samaraweera for one and the scoreboard read 76 for 4. It was Afridi who had five wickets in the game against Kenya who caused the slump with two wickets. Akhtar knocked back the middle stump of Jayawardena with a snorter.

Helped by a fourth wicket stand of 108 between Younis Khan 72 in 76 balls with 4 fours and Misbah Ul-Haq 83 not out with 6 fours in 91 balls Pakistan made a formidable 277 for the loss of 7 wickets in their 50 overs leaving Sri Lanka to make 278 for victory at a asking run rate of 5.5 runs per over.

Both batsmen who are generally aggressive stroke players were held back by spinners Rangana Herath and Muttiah Muralitheran. They were picking the gaps in the field and pushing the singles and waiting for the loose balls to put it to the boundary.

Strong on the off

Khan was particularly strong on the off, while Misbah played some crispy strokes on both sides of the wicket. Misbah who needed a runner for most of his innings could not give not put on show his trade mark strokes. Khan played a disciplined innings. Umar Akmal went 10, Sahid Afridi for 16 and Abur Razzaq for 3 all went cheaply.

Muralitharan was the most economical with 1 for 35 in 10. When he had the wicket of Umar Akmal, he became the second highest wicket taker in World Cup cricket. Thisara Perera had 2 for 52 and Rangana Herath 2 for4 2.

Batting friendly

The manner in which the Pakistani openers Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammed Hafeez went about their shots showed that the wicket was batting friendly. Of the new ball users for Sri Lanka, Thisara Perera was on line, while the usually reliable Nuwan Kulasekera was off line.

Shehzad tickled a delivery from Perera to Sangakkara and went for 13 with the score on 28. Hafeez and Kamran Akmal maintained a good tempo and were making the bowling look innocuous with a stand of 48 before Hafeez was run out for 32 with 4 fours and a six.

The dangerous looking Kamran Akmal was stumped by Sangakkara off Rangana Herath for 39 with 5 fours. He was out at 105. Once the Sri Lankan spinners Rangana Herath and Muttiah Muralitheran came on they slowed the run rate.

From everywhere

They were coming from here, there, everywhere and nowhere from morning.

Those with tickets and those looking for tickets. The bottom line was that everyone who was somebody wanted to get into the magnificent stadium and be a part of the cricket action.

The stadium looked a picture and was a very colourful. The papare, papare bands that were sadly missing in Sooriyawewa, made their welcome appearance and what sounds they made keeping the spectators and the ‘cowboys’ in the middle entertained.

The Mexican wave too was on show.

As to who was going to be timed the fastest bowler - Shoaib Akhtar or Lasith Malinga did not materialize as Malinga was not fit to get on rails. `Rawalpindi Express’ Akhtar had the rail road all to himself.

Important toss

Sahid Afridi won the all important toss and with a smile said: `We bat’. It was a good toss to win as the wicket looked good for batting with nice bounce and the ball coming on to the bat.

Sri Lanka made two changes from the team that played Canada. They dropped off spinner Ajantha Mendis for left arm spinner Rangana Herath and gave Chamara Silva a go for Chamara Kapugedera. Pakistan fielded the same team that gave them victory over Kenya.

Ahmed Shahzad c Sangakkara b Perera 		 13
Mohammad Hafeez run out 32
Kamran Akmal st Sangakkara b Herath 39
Younis Khan c Jayawardene b Herath 72
Misbah-ul-Haq not out 83
Umar Akmal c Dilshan b Muralitharan 10
Shahid Afridi c Dilshan b Mathews 16
Abdul Razzaq c sub (Kapugedera) b Perera 03
Extras: (lb4, w5) 09
Total: (for seven wkts; 50 overs) 277
Fall of wickets: 1-28 (Shahzad), 2-76 (Hafeez), 3-105 (Kamran Akmal), 4-213 (Younis), 5-238 (Umar Akmal), 6-267 (Afridi), 7-277 (Razzaq).
Bowling: Kulasekara 10-1-64- 0 (w1), Perera 9-0-62-2 (w2), Mathews 10-0-56-1, Muralitharan 10-0-35-1 (w2), Herath 10-0-46-2, Dilshan 1-0-10-0.
U. Tharanga c Afridi b Hafeez 33
T. Dilshan b Afridi 41
K. Sangakkara c Shahzad b Afridi 49
M. Jayawardene b Akhtar 02
T. Samaraweera st Kamran b Afridi 01
C. Silva st Kamran b Rehman 57
A. Mathews c Shahzad b Afridi 18
T. Perera b Akhtar 08
N. Kulasekara c Umar b Gul 24
R. Herath not out 04
M. Muralitharan not out 00
Extras (b1, lb10, nb2, w16) 29
Total (for nine wkts) 266
Fall of wickets 1-76 (Tharanga), 2-88 (Dilshan), 3-95 (Jayawardene), 4-96 (Samaraweera), 5-169 (Sangakkara), 6-209 (Mathews), 7-232 (Prera), 8-233 (Silva), 9-265 (Kulasekara).
Bowling Akhtar 10-0-42-2, Razzaq 5-1-23-0, Gul 9-0-60-1 (nb1, w6), Hafeez 6-0-33-1 (w2), Afridi 10-0-34-4 (w1), Rehman 10-1-63-1 (1nb, w7)


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