Afridi powers Pakistan to win
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Scorecard:Sri Lanka v Pakistan
Player:Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, DPMD Jayawardene, KC Sangakkara
Event:Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009

DateLine: 12th August 2009


Pakistan wrapped up their tour to Sri Lanka with a morale boosting win in the one-off Twenty20 International and the star off the match was undoubtedly Shahid Afridi for his fifty, a wicket in his quota of four overs and captaining the side with gumption. Pakistan scored 172 in their 20 overs and when it seemed that Jayasuriya would take the match away from them, the Pakistani team kept their cool and finally won the match convincingly.


Earlier in the evening Shahid Afridi won his first toss as captain in his first match and did have any hesitation in batting first. But that joy was short-lived when opener Kamran Akmal played a horrendous shot across the line and got cleaned up by Kulasekara. Shoaib Malik joined Imran Nazir at the crease and it was evident that both had a job at hand. Nazir and Malik tore into a hapless Thushara as they collected four boundaries, one to Nazir and three to Malik, as the second over cost seventeen runs to even out the proceedings. Malinga immediately replaced Thushara and he cleaned up Malik with a ball that kept low. Nazir meanwhile continued his attacking ways surviving a drop catch and a confident caught behind appeal.


Nazir finally fell when he tried to swing Thushara out off the park but could only get the elevation and Malinga made amends for the earlier drop as this time he accepted the catch. The exciting Umar Akmal joined Afridi and the duo set about in rebuilding the innings. Afridi took his time but once he got his eye in he showed the form that was displayed in the latter half of World T20 in England. Umar Akmal also shifted into T20 mode without much difficulty as he along with the skipper added 66 runs in 7.1 overs. Afridi scored his third consecutive T20 fifty but fell soon after the celebrations. Razzaq threw his bat around to a quickfire 25 to push the Pakistani score to 172 in their 20 overs


Sri Lanka in reply got off to a perfect start with Udawatte and Jayasuriya added 39 for the first wicket in just 3.5 overs. The pair made the Pakistani bowlers pay when they erred in line and length as they found the boundaries and Jayasuriya twice depositing the opening bowlers beyond the boundary ropes. Naved-ul-Hasan struck when he won a leg before appeal against Udawatte to a ball that pitched marginally outside the leg stump and then in the very next ball Jayasuriya mistimed a pull straight to the throat of fine-leg. That brought Sri Lankanís most experienced pair together. Jayawardene and Sangakkara did not show any sign of panic as they slowly guided the Lankan team through troubled waters. Both rotated the strike with Jayawardene even depositing Iftikhar Anjum for a six over fine-leg.


But that partnership was short-lived as Jayawardene was caught at midwicket when he misread a slower ball from Anjum. Sangakkara struck a pressure relieving six over long-off but the escalating run-rate forced Sangakkara to take more risks and in the end he was cleaned up by Ajmal when he attempted a slog-sweep. The rest of the batsmen could not adjust with the run-rate that was creeping beyond 11 and wickets fell in cluster. Afridi capped off an impressive match as he took the wicket off Kapugedera. The final five wickets fell for fourteen runs as Pakistan won the match by a convincing 52 runs.


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