Pakistan flex batting and bowling might to squeeze Sri Lanka
Pakistan 175-5 (Malik 46 no) beat
Sri Lanka 146-7 (Siriwardana 35) by 29 runs
First Twenty20 International, Colombo
Pakistan executed the perfect game, posting a big total and letting their bowlers loose as they won the first Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka in Colombo by 29 runs.
Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first. It was an inauspicious start as Angelo Mathews (1-33) plucked out Mukhtar Ahmed (2) the very second over.
A flurry of fours from Ahmed Shehzad (46) and Mohammad Hafeez (17) took them to 42 for one after six overs.
But, the budding partnership was broken by Thisara Perera (2-30) when Hafeez holed out to deep mid-wicket.
Shehzad was lucky when Mathews took a beautiful diving catch at long-off only for it to be ruled out as the ball just touched the ground before he took it. At that point, Pakistan were 71 for two after 10 overs.
Shehzad missed out on a half-century though, falling four runs short when he ramped one straight to short fine leg.
Pakistan manufactured a very good launching pad by the end of the 15th over, reaching 116 for three with Shoaib Malik (46 not out) playing a lovely cameo.
However, it was Umar Akmal (46) who got the massive over in the 16th with two big consecutive sixes off Binura Fernando (1-38) in a 17-run over.
He struck two fours the next over as well to keep the momentum going. Akmal’s 24-ball cameo ended when Lasith Malinga (1-46) trapped him lbw as he missed out on a half-century by four runs.
Malik too, finished four short of a half-century, playing an unbeaten 31-ball knock even as he, along with Shahid Afridi (8) pushed Pakistan to 175 for five after 20 overs.
Pakistan managed 59 in the last five overs and 104 in the second half of their innings with Perera the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers.
Sri Lanka lost their blazing opener Kusal Perera (4) the first over when Anwar Ali (2-27) got him with a slower ball.
They lost their talismanic batsman, Tillakaratne Dilshan (6), the next over when Sohail Tanvir (3-29) got him to edge one to the wicket-keeper.
Things went from bad to worse when Tanvir got Kithuruwan Vithanage (1) to edge one onto his own stumps.
Mathews (23) survived a loud caught behind appeal as Sri Lanka finished the power-play on 35 for three.
Dhananjaya de Silva (31) survived an appeal for run out at the non-striker’s end with doubt over whether the ball kissed the bowlers’ fingers.
However, a couple of balls later in the same over, Imad Wasim (1-21) got the big fish, Mathews missing a quicker delivery.
Milinda Siriwardana's 18 ball knock of 35 gave the fans some hope as he smashed a couple of sixes and a four in his first 10 balls.
However, in an eventful over, Malik (1-9) got de Silva’s wicket, had Chamara Kapugedera (31 not out) almost stumped and then got hit for a six by him.
Sri Lanka managed a 15-run over in the 15th to reach 114 for five, close to where Pakistan were at the same stage, thanks to three fours, two of them from Siriwardana’s bat.
Sadly for them, Tanvir got Siriwardana to hole out to long-on and in the next over, Ali got Perera to nick one to the keeper, almost ending the resistance.
Sri Lanka could only manage 146 for seven in their 20 overs, losing the match by 29 runs. Tanvir was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan with three wickets.
© Cricket World 2015