Afridi's 68-Ball Century In Vain As Sri Lanka Win
Sri Lanka 242-9 (Mathews 55no, Shoaib Akhtar 3-41) beat
Pakistan 226 (Shahid Afridi 109, Malinga 5-34) by 16 runs
Asia Cup game one, Dambulla
Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 16 runs in the opening game of the Asia Cup in Dambulla despite an outstanding 68-ball century from Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi.
Afridi blasted 109 in 76 balls before his side were dismissed for 226 in reply to Sri Lanka's 242 for nine in an action-packed curtain-raiser to the four-team tournament.
Afridi, newly-installed as permanent captain ahead of the competition, came to the crease with his side in trouble at 32-4 after Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga had taken a pair of wickets apiece to see off Salman Butt (0), Umar Amin (7), Shoaib Malik (8) and Shahzaib Hasan (11).
Umar Akmal (30) and Abdul Razzaq (26) then shared half-century stands with Afridi, who blasted eight fours and seven sixes as he single-handedly kept his side in the match.
The run outs of Umar and Kamran Akmal (14) left Pakistan in further trouble and Afridi's dismissal in the 41st over, caught by Kumar Sangakkara off Muttiah Muralitharan, left Sri Lanka back in the controlling position.
Despite the best efforts of Pakistan's lower order, they were blown away by Malinga, who returned to pick up figures of five for 34 by dismissing Mohammad Aamer (5), Shoiab Akhtar (1) and Mohammad Asif (0).
Pakistan were chasing 243 to beat Sri Lanka after returning fast bowler Akhtar returned three for 41 and the home side failed to build on a solid start.
Mahela Jayawardene (54) and captain Sangakkara (42) added 83 for the third wicket after the openers fell early but Sri Lanka were then pegged back by a strong Pakistan bowling attack.
Akhtar was backed up by Aamer and Asif as Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals, Akhtar dismissing Upul Tharanga for 11, Chamara Kapugedera for two and Farveez Maharoof for one.
With Malik and Razzaq also taking a wicket, it was left to Mathews to try and rescue Sri Lanka's innings, and he made an unbeaten 55 in 61 balls to haul his side up to a competitive score, hitting four fours.
Nuwan Kulasekara (14) and Malinga (16) gave him some much-needed support before Aamer had both men bowled to return figures of two for 57.
Malinga's 16 was a career-best score for him in ODI cricket and by the end of the day, his career-best effort with the ball had sealed an important win for the hosts.
© Cricket World 2010