Sri Lanka’s World Cup hoodoo against Pakistan continued as they lost their seventh game in-a-row when they ran into a narrow eleven run defeat in their league tie at the R. Premadasa Stadium, yesterday.
|I DID IT! Shahid Afridi rejoices his four wickets for 34 which helped to beat Sri Lanka by 11 runs.– Pic by Sanka Vidanagama
The Lankan batting in general was off target, though Dilshan and Tharanga initially put on 76 runs for the first wicket with an over five run rate. Then a top order slump where Sri Lanka slumped from 70 for 0 to 4 for 96 put the skids on their winning plans.
Nevertheless another fighting 73 run stand between skipper Sangakkara (49) and Chamara Silva (57) gave some respectability to the Lankan score, but that chase was never enough.
In spite of the top order slump the Lankan tail wagged strongly to bring the total just within sight.
Chamara Silva making a comeback into the side ended up as the top scorer with his 57 which he made in 78 balls with five fours. Once again Lanka’s nemesis was leg spinner Shahid Afridi who led from the front to bag 4 for 43 off his ten overs.With this defeat the Lankans have to put a lot of importance into their three remaining games against Kenya, Australia and Zimbabwe.
Batting under lights, the Lankans got off to a heady start. Countering the pace of Aktar and co it was Tharanga who middled the ball first while Dilshan at the other end was edging and missing. Yet, they kept up the fight. Lankans were slow at the beginning with the first five overs counting for only 16 runs. However the openers saw the Lankans catch up the required target and put on a good first wicket stand of 76 runs before Tharanga was held at extra cover for 33 off the bowling of off-spinner Hafeez.
Dilshan at the other end did not last much longer. Twelve runs later the Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi coming into the attack ended Dilshan rather scratchy inning by bowling him for 41 runs made in 55 balls with five fours. Thereafter the Lankans fell into further trouble when Aktar coming for his second spell bowled through sheer pace the first match centurion Mahela Jayawardena for 2.
The Lankan blues got deeper when Afridi snatched his second wicket by getting new comer Thilan Samaraweera for 1 by wicket keeper Kamran Akmal and the writing was on the wall with the Lankan scoreboard reading a bleak four for ninety six. The wicket carried no apparent terrors, but the Lankan batting lacked purpose by now. Even Chamara Silva early in his inning had a charmed life when left arm spinner Rehman’s appeal for leg before against Chamara Silva was approved by umpire Darryl Harper as the batsman went for the sweep to a full delivery, missed and was hit on the pads, they all went up in appeal, umpire Harper thought that was out, but Sri Lanka went for the appeal, and replays showed the ball would have hit the fourth stump, Silva lived on.
This was followed by another two reprieves when Sangakkara on 21 and 33 was missed by wicket keeper Akmal off the same bowler when the batsman stepped out and missed. Yet for every one’s surprise Sangakkara requested for the batting power play at the end of the 32nd over with the score still reading a poor 134 for4. Yet again the comedy of errors for Pakistan continued when Chamara Silva was dropped at mid wicket by Rehman off Gul while on 16. However the pair put on their 50 run stand in 82 balls. Then Pakistan went for an unsuccessful lbw ask against Sangakkara who was then on 49, but he was out two balls later caught at deep mid-on by teenager Shehzad to give Afridi his 300th ODI wicket. Sangakkara and Silva put on 73 runs for the 5th wicket. Then Pakistan lost their DRS rights with an unsuccessful caught behind appeal off Mathews who had just arrived at the crease.
Sri Lanka had the envious task of making exactly 100 runs in the last ten overs with five wickets in hand.
Earlier Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat. They exploited a rather thin Lankan pace attack that lacked penetration to post a rather gettable 277 for 7 in their allotted overs with the aid of a fighting 108 run stand for the 4th wicket between experienced Younis Khan (76) and Misbah-ul-Haq (83 not out). Khan in his stay at the crease hit six fours facing76 deliveries while Haq carried the bat on for 91 balls and hit six fours. The feature of that inning was the running between the wickets of the two batsmen who always kept the scoreboard ticking in spite of the lack of boundaries.
Sri Lanka left out unimpressive Ajantha Mendis making way for left arm spinner Rangana Heart and also rested injured Lasith Malinga who had a light workout with the team prior to the game. Also out of the team was Chamara Kapugedera who made way for Chamara Silva. Pakistan came out with the same Xl that thrashed Kenya a few days ago at Hambantota.