Perfect Comeback For Afridi As Pakistan Thrash Sri Lanka
Pakistan 132-2 (Younus Khan 56no, Imran Farhat 50) beat
Sri Lanka 131 (Shahid Afridi 3-27) by eight wickets
First One-Day International, Dubai
Shahid Afridi turned in a man-of-the-match performance with the ball as Pakistan thrashed Sri Lanka by eight wickets in a one-sided opening One-Day International in Dubai.
Afridi, playing his first game since withdrawing his retirement from international cricket, struck with his fifth ball and took two further wickets as Pakistan dismissed Sri Lanka for 131 and then raced to their target in just 21.5 overs to go 1-0 up in the five-match series.
Imran Farhat blasted a swift half-century and Younus Khan was unbeaten on 56 as a well-drilled Pakistan side beat an abject Sri Lanka.
The only thing Sri Lanka won all day was the toss, although after choosing to bat they were soon in trouble when Aizaz Cheema bowled Tillakaratne Dilshan for four and Kumar Sangakkara edged Abdul Razzaq to Sarfraz Ahmed for five.
He had faced some 24 balls and as Sri Lanka struggled to get their innings moving, Upul Tharanga made 25 in 56 balls before he hit Mohammad Hafeez to Cheema.
Afridi then got into the act by trapping Dinesh Chandimal (28) in front immediately after he had been hit for six as Pakistan's spinners made life uncomfortable for the batsmen.
Angelo Mathews (10) was run out by Razzaq after an awful mix-up with Mahela Jayawardene (24), who was caught by Razzaq off Saeed Ajmal after Kosala Kulasekara loosely drove Hafeez straight to Umar Gul at mid-off.
Afridi then saw off Seekkuge Prasanna, who was stumped for five, and Lasith Malinga, who thumped one big six before he was bowled and Sri Lanka's sorry effort was over when Suranga Lakmal (0) was also stumped.
Afridi's triumphant return saw him pick up figures of three for 27 with Hafeez (2-24) and Ajmal (2-21) also mighty impressive as Sri Lanka were dismsissed in 40.3 overs.
Farhat then led Pakistan's reply after Hafeez was caught by Kulasekara off Lakmal for five and he added 103 for the second wicket with Younus to grind Sri Lanka down and bury their hopes of an unlikely comeback.
He played some flamboyant strokes through the off side in making 50 in 65 balls with seven fours while Younus was typically calm and collected on the way to his 45th ODI half-century, hitting six fours before Sarfraz hit the winning run backward of square to complete a comprehensive win with almost 30 overs to spare.
The second game is on 14th November at the same venue.
© Cricket World 2011