Pakistan keeps their champions tag intact
Pakistan kept their reputation as the World Champions while defeating
Sri Lanka by 52 runs in their only Twenty20 International worked off
under lights at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday.
Pakistan successfully defended their total of 172 runs as they
dismissed the home side for just 120 runs from 18.1 overs.
Even then they were under tremendous pressure at one stage with
skipper Kumar Sangakkara threatening to take the game away from them.
The stylish left hander batting at number four showed promise with a
31 ball 38 which was studded with one six and two boundaries. Along with
Chamara Kapugedera they set about their task in style as Sri Lanka
remained well on course to a morale boosting victory.
However the dismissal of Sangakkara in the 14th over certainly
brought a dramatic change to the game with Pakistan crawling their way
back into the game through some accurate bowling and splendid fielding.
In fact Sri Lanka lost their last seven wickets for the addition of
just 20 runs within the space of 29 deliveries. Opening bowler Naveed Ul
Hasan and Saeed Ajmal claimed three wickets each with Mohammed Aamer,
Ifthikao Rao and Shahid Afridi providing the back up support.
Sri Lanka of course got off to a flying start during their run chase
as they reached 80 for 3 at the half way stage of the innings. The new
opening combination of Mahela Udawatte and Sanath Jayasuriya provided
some early fireworks before both departed in the space of a couple of
Veteran Jayasuriya threatened to take complete control of the
situation by hoisting two sixes and stroking a boundary before he top
edged Mohammed Aamer in the fifth over. Sri Lanka suffered another blow
when Mahela Jayawardena made his exit in the ninth over.
The Pakistan innings was built around a captainís knock from Shahid
Afridi who made exactly fifty runs from 37 deliveries inclusive of two
sixes and four boundaries. The 29 year old dashing right hander leading
the side for the first time rose to the big occasion after they had lost
two early wickets.
In fact Pakistan had a dreadful start to their innings while losing
opener Kamran Akmal in the very first ball after they had won the toss
and elected to bat first. Nuwan Kulasekera was responsible for the
initial damage that put the opposition under pressure from the start.
However Shahid Afridi joined Umar Akmal and the pair steadied the
innings with a fourth wicket partnership of 66 runs from just 43 balls.
Afridi played the dominant role as he took most of the strike against
the seamers and the spinners.
In contrast Akmal was prepared to play the supporting role after
Imran Nazir had survived an early chance where he was dropped by Lasith
Malinga off Thilan Thushara in the second over of the innings.
Nevertheless Lasith Malinga made amends to a certain extent by
removing Shoaib Malik with his fifth delivery. The speedster completed
an excellent opening spell with his two overs costing him only eight
Even then Pakistan were able to collect a good 47 runs from the last
five overs thanks to a useful contribution of 25 runs from Abdur Razzaq
who put on 33 runs for the unfinished sixth wicket along with Misbah Ul