A tantalizing finish to an otherwise one-sided match

The men in green continued to rock the show at the world cup, with a sensational win over the home lions (Sri Lanka). This takes them straight to the top of group A ahead of Aussies on the basis on higher run-rate. The Green shirts look impenetrable and have sent waves of anxiousness to the other big guns in the tournament.

The squad seems very united.© AFP

The batting order looks highly stable with ever-consistent Misbah and the technically accurate Younis Khan. They can be banked upon under any circumstances making Pakistan a strong threat against even the best bowling line-ups in the world. Lets take a look at how they held their record of beating Sri Lanka in every world cup encounter so far.

The toss was crucial on a newly laid Premadasa track, that was rock hard. The fairy of luck favored Afridi as he won the toss and rightly decided to bat first under extremely hot and humid conditions at the ground. The start was positive with Ahmad taking the attack to Sri Lankan opening bowlers. However, the lions used to home conditions and swung the new ball with good effect,  getting Ahmad early. K.Akmal came and looked in good form. However, when all seemed well, there struck a disaster with both Hafeez and Akmal caught at the same end, resulting in a fatal end to prospering Hafeez innings. In walked in the dependable Younis Khan and runs started to flow. Akmal lost his mind when he seemed to be right track up and end up being stumped of a loopy Herath’s ball.

YK and Misbah combined yet again and took the game well away from the Sri Lankans. Efficient running between the wicket left Lankan lions frustrated. The runs were accumulated at a healthy rate, resulting in a well set platform for the likes of U.Akmal, Afridi and Abdul Razzaq. Both made excellent fifties with Misbah remaining unbeaten on 83 off 91 balls.

The late guns didn’t fire as much as expected, and only 36 runs came of the batting powerplay. However, a total of 277 was repectable considering the depth of bowling Pakistan possesses.

Lankan Lions got off to a remarkable start with their dependable pair of Dilshan and Tharanga. Worries start to creep in to Pakistan’s dressing room when SL became 76-0 in 14.1 overs. However, the wicket of next ball of Tharnaga soared their spirits. Afridi starting the day at 297 ODI wickets, then chipped in to remove Dilshan, while Akhtar returned for the second spell and had Jayawardene’s middle stump rearranged, leaving SL 95-3 in 21 overs. Samaraweera fell in Afridi’s next over leaving the Lions struggling for stability. The partnership between C.Silva and Sanggakkara was nothing but a gift to Pakistan. With the required run-rate rising and the balls were being wasted as C.Silva at one stage making 17 off 50. The rising pressure had the best of Sangakkara as he fell trying to force the pace, giving Afridi his 300th ODI wicket. The match seemed long over, but thanks to the ever present incompetence in fielding the match went to the last over. Akmal missing two stumpings, Rehman flooring a sitter, and lots of missed run-out opportunities, left the home lions needing just 18 of the last over.Thanks mainly to much improved display of batting by Silva in the latter stages of the match. But this was as far as they could go and the match finished with crowd leaving dejectedly and a satisfied as well as relieved Afridi leading his side back to the dressing room.

Afridi received a well –earned Man of the Match, for various reasons. Good hand with the bat, excellent with the ball and good captaincy throughout. However, a highlight of the day was his insensitive use of the UDRS. Firstly, challenging an LBW decision with the ball pitching well outside leg-stump seemed ridiculous . Nextly, challenging a faint outside edge without thinking about the limited technology available to overturn such a decision. SL on the other hand had a successful review, when a decision against Silva was overturned.   

The landscape at the CWC 2011 has become very interesting, with Aussies continue to remain unbeaten and Pakistan rising up to the challenge. It will be interesting to see who ends up at the top of group A table.

Hopefully Salman will continue to update us about all the other encounters. That’s all for now; thank you all for reading. It’s A.Karimi signing off with a satisfied smile 🙂


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. salman1508
    Feb 27, 2011 @ 11:38:14

    Wow! just too good bro, truly it is impressive. Great job.


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