Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Asia Cup Cricket 2010 – Pakistan vs Sri Lanka

The opening match of the tournament was played between the defending champions Sri Lanka with one time winner of the cup, Pakistan at Dambulla, Sri Lanka. Pakistani faced the defenders after inclusion of two of its “dissidents and outlawed” players Shoaib Akhtar and Shoaib Malik. Besides, there have been controversies and penalties against the Akmal brothers that have had a rather negative effect to start with.

Sri Lankans opted to bat and gave a sizeable target of 242/9(50) to Pakistan to catch up to. Shoaib Akhtar bagged three Sri Lankan wickets for 41 runs and came out with his best bowling performance against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup. Matthews hit his first half-century against Pakistan, and his fifth in ODIs, while Angelo Matthews (55 not out off 61 balls) played his maiden fifty against Pakistan in ODIs. Mahela Jayawardene also scored his fourth 50 (54 off 64 balls) in the Asia Cup.

Came in the Pakistani side to bat to chase the target of 242. The only performance worth mentioning is that of captain Shahid Afridi, while the rest scored marginally, except Umar Akmal and Abdul Razzaq who scored more than 20 (30 and 26 respectively). With seven sixes, Shahid Afridi scored splendid 109 off 76 balls (his first century since last five years) and with his sixes adding up to 55 against Sri Lanka - the most by any batsman against Sri Lanka or for that matter any country. With this splendid score, Afridi was not only declared the Man of the Match, but also became the seventh batsman for Pakistan to have scored more than 6,000 runs (6066 to be exact) in ODIs - an average of 23.51 in 294 matches.

On the fielding front, Malinga became the third Sri Lankan bowler to claim five wickets in an innings in the Asia Cup. While Akmal became the second Pakistani fielder to take three catches in an innings in the Asia Cup. Imran Khan being the first to register the feat against Sri Lanka at Colombo back in 1986.

But Afridi’s lone century and Umar Akmal and Razzaqs modesty could not bring victory to Pakistan and they lost to Sri Lanka by 16 runs. The latest defeat of the Pakistani squad piled up their defeats to eight so far in succession, which includes two against New Zealand and five against their last series with the Australians, besides this recent one. The defeat leaves a dismay into the Pakistani crowd both at home and abroad and now eyes are set on to the match between India and Pakistan – something that makes mercury to rise.