Afridi Leads By Example As Pakistan Clinch Victory
Pakistan 172-5 (Shahid Afridi 50) beat
Sri Lanka 120 (Saeed Ajmal 3-18, Rana Naved 3-19) by 52 runs
Twenty20 International, Colombo
Captain Shahid Afridi hit a half-century, took a wicket and effected a run out as Pakistan outclassed Sri Lanka to win their Twenty20 International by 52 runs in Colombo.
Afridi thumped 50 in 37 balls to guide Pakistan to 172 for five before Sri Lanka were shot out for 120 in 18.1 overs in reply.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, Pakistan got off to the worst possible start when Kamran Akmal was bowled with the first ball of the match by the world’s number one ODI bowler, Nuwan Kulasekera. However, this did not stop the Pakistan batsmen swinging as Imran Nazir (40) and Umar Akmal (30) both looked to hit boundaries from the off.
Their starts gave Pakistan a good platform and Shahid Afridi went one better than the others in reaching his milestone from just 35 balls. But when he was removed by Thilan Thushara it was left to Abdur Razzaq to hit some lusty balls to take the total to 172 for five.
The match was of course a repeat of the ICC World Twenty20 final in Lord's at June, but it didn't live up to the billing with Sri Lanka losing wickets in clutches as Pakistan took control.
Mahela Udawatte (11) was the first to go, trapped in front by Rana Naved but once Sanath Jayasuriya, caught pulling for 23, Mahela Jayawardene, looping a catch to mid-off for 12, and Kumar Sangakkara, bowled via an inside edge for 38, were gone, Pakistan were never going to be headed.
Sangakkara played nicely, hitting two fours and a six while Jayasuriya was his usual belligerent self, smacking two sixes before Mohammad Aamer tempted him to play one shot too many.
Rana Naved and Saeed Ajmal ripped through the middle and lower order as Sri Lanka lost their last seven wickets for just 20 runs, crashing to a humbling defeat in front of their home fans.
The result meant that Pakistan finish the tour with three straight wins, in the final two ODIs and this Twenty20 match.
© Cricket World 2009