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Pakistan ties T20 series against Sri Lanka
Shahid Afridi’s performance helps Pakistan win second match
By Abdul Nasir Khan
HAMBANTOTA – Shahid Afridi’s all-around performance helped Pakistan win a Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka by 23 runs June 3, levelling the two-match Twenty20 series in Hambantota.
Afridi hit 52 runs with five 4’s and a huge 6. He also sent two important Sri Lankan batsmen back to pavilion with only 17 runs in his four overs.
“It is good for me and for Pakistan that we were able to win the match and levelled the series,” Afridi told the media after match.
Afridi was named man of the match for a record seventh time in the T20 format.
Pakistan’s top-order batsmen, batting first, faltered, throwing away their four wickets for only 41 runs on board. Captain Mohammad Hafeez scored 24 while Ahmad Shehzad added only six runs, Khalid Lateef was run out on one and Umar Akmal got leg before the wicket (LBW) after five.
But Afridi (52) and Shoaib Malik (27) added 68 runs for a fifth wicket partnership, helping the team reach 122-6 in the allotted 20 overs.
Yasir Arafat, who replaced Umar Gul and was playing his first international in two years, bagged 3-18. He was supported by Muhammad Sami 3-16 and all rounder Shahid Afridi 2-17.
Despite the manageable deficit, Sri Lankan batsmen were unable to handle Pakistan’s bowling attack. Pakistan held Sri Lanka to just 99 runs. Chamara Kapugedera (19) and Lahiru Thirimanne (18) led the Sri Lankan batsmen.
“It was a team effort that we succeeded to level the series,” Hafeez said during a post- match press conference. “Every player has played his role effectively, the partnership between Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik was crucial in the victory.”
Pakistan lost its first T20 match of the two-match series June 1 by 37 runs. Sri Lanka set a target of 133-7 in 20 overs, but Pakistani batsmen got all out in 18th over. Ahmad Shehzad (36) and Umar Akmal (12) were the only batsmen who could get into double figures in the first match.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan will next play a five-match one-day series, starting in Pallekele June 7.