Afridi stars as Pakistan clinch series

Courtesy: International Cricket Council

All-rounder Shahid Afridi scored a half-century before taking five wickets to steer Pakistan to a hard fought 26-run win in the fourth day-night match over Sri Lanka at Sharjah stadium on Sunday.

Afridi helped Pakistan recover from a struggling 120-7 to 200 all out with a 65-ball 75 before he derailed Sri Lanka by taking 5-35 to dismiss them for 174 in 45.2 overs, giving his team an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

The victory leaves the fifth and final game at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday as inconsequential. The sides will also play a Twenty20 international at Abu Dhabi on Friday. Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara had set Sri Lanka on course for a comfortable win with a 102-run fourth wicket stand after Sri Lanka were struggling at 53-3 with Upul Tharanga (16) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (11) gone by the eighth over.

With 46 needed for victory Sangakkara, who hit six boundaries during his 103-ball knock, was bowled by Afridi for 58 and Saeed Ajmal accounted for Angelo Mathews (nought) in the next over. That triggered a collpase in which Sri Lanka lost their last seven wickets for 19 runs.

It included all of Afridi’s wickets in a sensational display of leg-spin bowling. The 31-year-old thus became the only man in one-day cricket to hit a half century and take five wickets in the same match on two occasions. Jayawardene, who made 55, fell in the 44th over which left Sri Lanka with no chance to get the win they were seeking.

Earlier Afridi hit four boundaries and three sixes to lift his team from a precarious 120-7 to 200 in 49.3 overs. Afridi added an invaluable 61 runs for the eighth wicket with tail-ender Saeed Ajmal who finished with 20.

The swashbuckling Afridi hit spinner Seekkugge Prassana over extra cover for a six to reach his 31st half-century – his first in 15 innings – before hitting the same bowler for two boundaries and a six to notch up 19 in the 43rd over. He finally fell, caught behind off paceman Thissara Perera, in the next over.

Sri Lanka, aiming to level the series after losing the first and third matches in Dubai, had kept Pakistan in check before Afridi’s knock. Paceman Dilhara Fernando (3-26) provided the early breakthrough when he had Imran Farhat caught behind for 10 with his first delivery of the match and then returned for his second spell to remove Younis Khan (18).

After Mohammad Hafeez (27) fell caught at long-leg off a miscued sweep, Pakistan lost four wickets in the space of just 14 runs. Leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis then trapped Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal (both made two) in successive overs to leave Pakistan struggling at 71-5.
Afridi and Misbah-ul Haq added 26 for the sixth wicket before the Pakistan captain fell to a silly run out.

Pakistan brought in Cheema and Malik for Sohail Tanvir and Abdul Razzaq from the line-up of the third match which they won by 21 runs. Sri Lanka won the second match by 25 runs while Pakistan were victorious by eight wickets in the first – all three played in Dubai.

  • Gamaya

    I’m really worried about mathews current form, very talented guy and got abilities and qualities to be our next captain,, but…….. he s in as a batsman now.. and playing only to save his place in the team, he’s not anymore a worldclass allrounder, do not bowl anymore,,so what exactly is his role? he was a better bowler than a batsman, can contribute between middle overs of an innings..if SLC need a middle order batmen they have plenty outside d team..why not trying Bhanuka Rajapaksha, very solid middle order performer, he is at his peek so those players deserve a place in our team…
    Mathews should play his all rounder role, or else promote him to 3down or 4 down, then he can improve his batting..or drop him for 2, 3 matches, he will come back with alot more..
    Upul Tharanga is too slow for cricket, that is not what we expect as our opener..Sanga and Mahela its time to go down from your batting positions and let newcomers to take the strikes..

  • Pubudu

    Feel there is division in the team, otherwise how can this happen and the rash shots played by the batsman its unbelievable !!!. If this is going to continue might as well draft youngsters instead of these seniors who are making these divisions in the team

  • Umesh

    We don’t want dilshan as a captain. There are players who can do diz better than him. Like Thilan samaraweera most experienced player. we can keep him as a captain until mathews comes to a position. this is not good for srilanka. We have to change this captain as soon as possible.

  • PremasiriS

    As we all know, S’kara & M’ela always go to bat at the best batting positions with more time & overs to spare for them to get their eye-in, having survived the initial stages with some risky strokes (edgy , false & lofted ),they very often throw their wicket away, in trying a fancied stroke, thus dragging the Team into deep trouble. The both having experience of around 1000 International innings in between them, should know better how it’s difficult for a new batter, even the class of Mathews to get his eye in,in the late hours of the day with only few overs to spare. I’ve always felt Sangara isn’t an ideal batsman for the No 3 position. He may have looked elegant when he is on the defensive mood and when he plays the ball on the off-side, like Gurusinghe he finds it’s difficult to keep the ball all along the ground on the on-side. We could always see him getting out lobbing a catch to a close-in-fielder or a fielder in the deep mid-wicket region. (to be continued.)

    The No 3 &4 position are meant for consistent batsmen of solid technique (i.e. total control over almost all strokes he plays with full array of strokes all around the wicket) and lightening reflexes. The selectors should take full blame for these loses for not introducing talented young who have been maintaining consistency from their young age that come out of schools annually. The selectors have no respect nor give any value for these future assets as a result many a briliant cricketers giveup playing Cricket soon after leaving schools (as there isn’t a healthy environment rather incentives for them to be in the Game, unlike it happens in other Test playing Countries). The way they are getting on with the subject of selections one feels like selectors are a bunch of very ordinary crickters who’ve never read any good book on Cricket. (to be continued.)

    They have no clue to what to look for in a player; they know nothing what has happened in the past, what is happening at present nor what will happen in the future in the World’s stage of Cricket. That is why they’ve too much faith on these inconsistent seniors (and other ordinary players who were brought into the Side from time to time) who always adopt unprofitable approaches of reckless hitting when they are in search for quick runs, which have always had brought their down fall and the Team as a whole. The top order has to be strengthened by promising youngsters of good reflexes & technique (to be continued.)

    The batsmen who can’t keep the bowl down (all along the ground) when it’s really needed and leave balls there to be left alone have no use in any form of the Game. The consistency is the hallmark of a good player. A thing which is missing at present in the Top Order except for Chandimal, Mathews,Paranawithna, Thirimanne. I strongly feel we can easiliy do away with the 3 fleet-footed seniors by introducing promising youngsters like Angelo Perera, Khausal Silva, Bhanuka Rajapaksha,Dhimuth Karunarathna, thirimanne, Romesh Buddhika,Rosen Silva, Wimanga Perera,…all-rounders Umesh Krunarathna, Chathuranga de Silva, Chathuranga Kumara, Geeth Kumara, Geeth Alwis … & bowlers the likes of Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Malinda Pushpakumara, Dulanjana Mendis,Charith Jayampathi, Chathura Peiris….

  • Former Fan

    TM DIlshan = Ranil Wikramasinghe, they never can win, never will..Please do change the captain, batting coach and fielding coach… why do we need that much of coaches since we cant even score 200 runs..SLC please find some other sport..