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Impressive Pakistan beat SL
17 Sep 2007
By: Liam Camps

Pakistan recovered from an uncertain start to post an authoritative victory over Sri Lanka in the second round of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament. The Sri Lankans failed to surpass Pakistan's 189-6, truly outclassed and slumping to defeat by 33 runs.

In the early exchanges it was Sri Lanka who rode high on expectations, striking quickly and severely to leave Pakistan reeling at 33-3 after 5.5 overs. But as has been the case for Pakistan throughout the tournament, inspiration was summoned from the middle order. Exceptionally paced half-centuries from captain Shoaib Malik (57 from 31 balls) and Younis Khan (51 from 35) led a stunning rearguard charge.

Both batsmen started with some care and uncertainty, but as they found their worth at the crease, it was with a great effect of acceleration. It is so often iterated how quickly a game can change hands in such a shortened form, and Younis and Malik needed only 9 overs to pile on 101 runs - a devastating counterattack.

The excellent work of Dilhara Fernando at the start was initially supported by Chaminda Vaas, but there was little support from the remainder of the bowling attack. Malinga got three wickets, including those of Younis and Malik, but was too often short and was dispatched for 43 runs in his allotment.

Far harsher treatment was in store for Sanath Jayasuriya, however. The veteran spinner was pummeled for 64 runs in a wicketless 4 overs, including two huge sixes at the hands of Misbah-ul-Haq in the final over of the innings.

A target of 190 could scarcely seem more intimidating after Mohammad Asif found the top edge of Tharanga's bat with his second ball. The opener was out without scoring. Sri Lanka nearly slipped into further despair when Sohail Tanvir dropped a sitter off Jayasuriya's miscued pull shot later in the same over.

Tanvir was granted a chance at immediate redemption and thrillingly accepted it, bowling Jayasuriya with the first ball of the following over. Kumar Sangakkara was then joined by his captain, Jayawardene, with dire need of a rebuilding effort.

Sangakkara thumped Asif over backward point for six, and his defiance lasted as long as 18 from 10 balls, then he was bizarrely bowled off his arm by the same bowler. At 35-3, Sri Lanka still needed 155 from a remaining 91 deliveries.

Momentum was rediscovered as Jayawardene flicked Tanvir for six over square leg. The intent was signaled, then consolidated in the following over, Asif's last. Two free hits resulted in a six and a four, and a total of 22 runs were scored.

Mohammad Hafeez was met with a sweep shot for four at the start of his spell, but he and Shahid Afridi then proceeded to slow the game down to Pakistan's liking. The mounting pressure told with the dismissal of Jayawardene at the hands of Afridi, caught in the deep by Umar Gul. And then needing 102 from 59 balls, the onus was even further on Silva to shine.

He dazzled in response with two boundaries off Afridi, but faded immediately after, trumped and bowled for 38 off 28 balls. Jehan Mubarak and Gayan Wijekoon posted ducks in fulfillment of an imminent collapse. And as such the "last hope" mantle was passed to Tillekeratne Dilshan. Swinging and missing consistently, he looked incapable of accomplishing his charge. Though three slogged sixes off Hafeez in the penultimate over kept some interest in the contest, it was an effort to a defeated end.

Dilshan was caught at deep midwicket by Younis to end the glimmer of threat. A requirement of 40 from the final over was far too great and only 34 runs were attained.

Pakistan will take great heart from the win, and now need only to win one of their final two games against Bangladesh and Australia to advance to the semi-final round. Sri Lanka, however, will likely have to defeat Australia to ensure their progression through the tournament.

Pakistan 189-6
Shoaib Malik 57, Younis Khan 51, Shahid Afridi 17
Lasith Malinga 3-43, Dilhara Fernando 2-17

Sri Lanka 156-9
Chamara Silva/Tillekeratne Dilshan 38, Mahela Jayawardene 28
Shahid Afridi 3-18, Umar Gul 2-14

Pakistan won by 33 runs.
Cricket Web Man of the Match: Younis Khan

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