Inspirational Afridi Seals Series Win For Pakistan
Pakistan 200 (Shahid Afridi 75, Dilhara Fernando 3-26) beat
Sri Lanka 174 (Sangakkara 58, Afridi 5-35) by 26 runs
Fourth One-Day International, Sharjah
Shahid Afridi turned in a virtuoso performance to inspire Pakistan to a 26-run win in the fourth One-Day International against Sri Lanka that put them into an unassailable 3-1 series lead.
Twice Afridi was the man who got his side out of a losing position, first with the bat as he made 75 as Pakistan were bowled out for 200 and then with the ball by taking five for 35 as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 174.
He came to the crease with Pakistan on 97 for six but patiently made his way to a half-century before hitting four fours and three sixes in 65 balls to hand his side a modestly competitive total, backed up by Saeed Ajmal, who made 20 and helped add 61 for the eighth wicket.
In reply, Sri Lanka were looking well set when half-centuries from Kumar Sangakkara (58) and Mahela Jayawardene (51) steered them to 155 for three but Afridi was yet to have his final say.
Having added 102 for the third wicket, the experienced pair were parted when Afridi bowled Sangakkara and he had Jeevan Mendis trapped in front and Jayawardene caught by Mohammad Hafeez after Ajmal had Angelo Mathews caught behind without scoring.
Sri Lanka lost five wickets for 15 runs when Seekkuge Prasanna was caught and bowled by Afridi for a golden duck and he finished the match by having Tissera Perera caught by Umar Akmal for seven.
Sri Lanka lost seven wickets for just 19 runs to be bowled out in 45.2 overs.
In the history of ODI cricket, only 15 times has a player scored a half-century and then gone on to take five wickets and remarkably, Afridi has now done it twice.
Dilhara Fernando (3-26), Mendis (2-40) and Prasanna (2-55) had earlier performed superbly with the ball to undo Pakistan's top order.
They were unable to get rid of Afridi, however, until the damage had been done; then their batsmen were unable to play him effectively as he ran away with the man-of-the-match award.
The final game is in Abu Dhabi on 23rd November.
© Cricket World 2011