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Asia Cup – Sri Lanka vs Pakistan: Afridi’s Ton In Vain As Lanka Win By 16 Runs

By on June 15, 2010

Sri Lanka 242 for 9 (Mathews 55*, Jayawardene 54, Shoaib 3-41) beat Pakistan 226 (Afridi 109, Malinga 5-34) by 16 runs…

Defending champions Sri Lanka fought jangled nerves to override Shahid Afridi’s blistering century and record an exciting 16-run win over Pakistan in the first match of the Asia Cup cricket tournament here on Tuesday.

Chasing 243 at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, Pakistan seemed on course for a win as long as Afridi (109) was in the middle. But once Muttiah Muralitharan ended his scintillating 76-ball knock Lasith Malinga (5/34) mowed down the lower order and bundled Pakistan for 226 in 47 overs.

Earlier, Sri Lanka showed great character in recovering from a poor start to make a fighting 242 for nine, thanks in main to the never-say-die Angelo Mathews (55 not out), Mahela Jayawardene (54) and Kumar Sangakkara (42).

Afridi braved cramps and kept fighting but his batting colleagues completely let him down, something that could be gauged from the fact that the next best score was Umar Akmal’s 30.

Sitting pretty when Pakistan were staggering at 32 for four in the 14th over, Sri Lanka suddenly found themselves in dire straits when Afridi cut loose. Three Afridi-inspired partnerships — worth 73, 49 and 51 — saw Pakistan roar back into the game but his fall in the 41st over brought Lanka back into the game.

Hampered by a groin injury, the gallant Afridi struck as many as seven sixes and eight boundaries while producing his fifth ODI century. He dominated the Lankan attack until Muralitharan, battered and bruised by Afridi’s onslaught, had the last laugh.

Earlier, a two-wicket burst at the start of the innings by Malinga had put Sri Lanka firmly in control of the game until Afridi stepped on the gas and nearly turned the match on its head.

Source: NDTV Cricket

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