Saturday 26 February 2011 

Afridi Leads Pakistan To 11-Run Win Over Sri Lanka

Afridi Leads Pakistan To 11-Run Win Over Sri Lanka
Afridi Leads Pakistan To 11-Run Win Over Sri Lanka
© REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds (SRI LANKA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET) Picture Supplied by Action Images
 

Pakistan 277-7 (Misbah-ul-Haq 83no) beat
Sri Lanka
266-9 (Shahid Afridi 4-34) by 11 runs
ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 Group A, Colombo

Video Update: Afridi Inspires Pakistan

Audio: Shahid Afridi | Kumar Sangakkara

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi took four wickets to lead his side to an 11-run victory over Sri Lanka in their Cricket World Cup Group A match in Colombo.

Sri Lanka were asked to set a ground record under lights to win against Pakistan, who scored 277 for seven at the R. Premadesa Stadium but fell short as Afridi's haul of four for 34 saw them close on 266 for nine

Half-centuries from experienced pair Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq underpinned a solid Pakistan batting performance after they won the toss and chose to bat first.

No team has chased more than 271 at the ground in a day/night encounter but Sri Lanka, fresh from a convincing batting display against Canada, will fancy their chances in front of their home fans.

Pakistan overcame some excellent bowling but also had some batting mishaps entirely of their own creation to recover from to post a subsantial score. One such moment came when Kamran Akmal (39) and Mohamamd Hafeez (32), who had been batting beautifully in partnership for the second wicket, ended up at the same end as Akmal swept Muttiah Muralitharan's first ball straight to Mahela Jayawawdene at fine leg.

With Hafeez charging down the pitch and Akmal going nowhere, Jayawardene returned the ball to wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara, whose subsequent throw towards Muralitharan sailed over the bowler's head. Fortunately for them, neither Pakistan batsman was making any attempt to recover his crease and there was time for Rangana Herath to get the ball safely to Muralitharan, who whipped off the bails to end Hafeez's stay at the wicket.

Akmal was eventually dismissed when he charged down the pitch to Herath and was stumped - again without making an attempt to reclaim his ground - by Sangakkara. He hit five fours before his demise, which paired Younus and Misbah together and their cool heads took their side to 213 before they lost their fourth wicket.

They put on 108 together before Younus, who made 72 in 76 balls, mistimed a sweep and was caught by Jayawardene off Herath.

Smart use of the batting Power Play - in which they lost Umar Akmal for ten and Shahid Afridi for 16 - with Misbah again to the fore then ensured Pakistan passed 270 and set Sri Lanka a stiff target.

Misbah was unbeaten on 83 in 91 balls, hitting six fours, while Tissara Perera returned two for 62 and Herath two for 46.

Sri Lanka then made a fast start with openers Tillakaratne Dilshan (41) and Upul Tharanga (33) prospering against Shoiab Akhtar, Abdul Razzaq and Umar Gul. The turn to spin slowed their progress and Pakistan quickly got amongst the wickets once the opening stand of 76 was broken.

Tharanga drilled off-spinner Hafeez into the hands of Afridi at cover, Dilshan chopped Afridi onto his stumps before Akhtar returned to bowl Mahela Jayawardene (2) with a ball that nipped back at express pace.

Thilan Samaraweera was then stumped for one as he overbalanced to Afridi and although Chamara Silva survived an on-field decision to give him out lbw to Abdur Rehman via a review, even his innings of 57 in 78 balls could not save his side.

He added 73 for the fifth wicket with Sangakkara, who was the next man out when he slogged Afridi up in the air and was well caught by Ahmed Shehzad having hit 49 in 61 balls. The same pair combined to get rid of Angelo Mathews (18) in similar fashion as Sri Lanka failed to keep up with the required run rate.

Akhtar returned with precision again to clean bowl Perera for eight before Silva finally fell when he was stumped off Rehman.

Nuwan Kulasekara (24) and Rangana Herath (4 not out) gave their all towards the end, but despite needing 18 to win from the final over, and still being in the match, they couldn't take the victory away from Pakistan.

Both sides won their opening matches in the tournament.

© Cricket World 2011

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