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Sri Lanka vs Pakistan: Sri Lanka Maintain Winning Ways

By on June 12, 2009

icc world twenty20 - Tillakaratne Dilshan

Sri Lanka 150 for 7 (Dilshan 46) beat Pakistan 131 (Younis 50, Malinga 3-17) by 19 runs…

Sri Lanka survived a shocking mid-innings slump and a threatening 66-run partnership between Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq to ease to a 19-run win in their first game of the Super Eights at Lord’s. Chasing a modest 151 – after Sri Lanka were shackled by some superb bowling from the spinners – Pakistan’s fight was led by Younis Khan, who made a well-paced 50, but three wickets in eight balls, including those of Younis and Shahid Afridi, sunk the chase.

Pakistan recovered from a shocking start in the field, giving away just 70 in the last 12 overs to restrict Sri Lanka to 150 for 7 in their Super Eights fixture at Lord’s. After Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne Dilshan had added 81 in less than nine overs, Shahid Afridi got into the act, dismissed both openers and returned superb figures of 2 for 23 to ensure Pakistan will feel reasonably pleased with their efforts at the halfway stage.

The way Sri Lanka started, though, it seemed they’d soar past 200, as Dilshan and Jayasuriya, aided by Tanvir’s extreme generosity, powered the team to 59 in five overs. Pakistan have never been the most disciplined team, but the way they started was sloppy even by their modest standards. Tanvir started with a no-ball, and by the time his first over was done, he’d added three wides and another no-ball to that tally. The batsmen, meanwhile, made merry: both openers eased drives through the covers as the first over leaked 18.

Mohammad Aamer, extracting plenty of pace and bounce and to hurry the batsmen, did his best to tighten things from the other end, but even he couldn’t stop the run-glut, as Dilshan played the audacious scoop over the wicketkeeper yet again, and Jayasuriya’s short-arm pull cleared square leg. Younis Khan didn’t trust his spinners in the Powerplays, and Sri Lanka’s openers relished pace on the ball, driving into the gaps forcefully or scooping and nudging delicately. On a quick outfield, both were equally profitable.

All that changed when the spinners came on. Afridi continued from where he left off in the previous two games, denying the batsmen room, and varying his pace and length cleverly. In his second over, he shackled the batsmen to just one run in his first five balls, before forcing a miscued sweep from Jayasuriya; in his next over, he nailed Dilshan, who misjudged the length and was bowled attempting to cut.

Thereafter, the innings lost momentum completely. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene struck a couple of meaty blows, but with Umar Gul offering no freebies, Saeed Ajmal and Shoaib Malik showing excellent control, and with the fielding tightening up as well, Sri Lanka had no weak link to attack. Sangakkara was beaten in flight, and his rueful shake of the head as he walked back indicated how completely the momentum had shifted.

Jayawardene made room and cleared extra cover off Ajmal, but then fell trying a repeat act. The last five overs was dismal for Sri Lanka, with only two fours during this period, leaving the bowlers and fielders with plenty to do if they are to avoid losing to Pakistan for the 11th time in 12 World Cup or Champions Trophy matches.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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