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Umar Akmal carries Pakistan to consolation win

March 5th, 2016 | by admin
Umar Akmal carries Pakistan to consolation win
Asia Cup 2016
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Pakistan 151 for 4 (Umar Akmal 48, Sarfraz 38) beat Sri Lanka 150 for 4 (Dilshan 75*, Chandimal 58, Irfan 2-18) by six wickets

The first ball of the match, Mohammad Amir struck Dinesh Chandimal’s pads with a late and quick inswinger, raising hopes of a contest. It panned out, however, into a dead rubber between two sides who made plenty of errors, with Pakistan chasing down 151 with six wickets in hand. The end was farcical, too, as Nuwan Kulasekara dropped a straightforward chance at mid-off from Shoaib Malik, to give away the winning run with four balls to spare.

Half the match was dominated by Tillakaratne Dilshan, who scored 75 not out. For the third time in T20Is, Dilshan finished unbeaten after opening the innings, the first opening batsman to do so in the format. His score accounted for half of Sri Lanka’s total of 150 for 4, after he had survived a missed run-out opportunity and two dropped catches.

Pakistan timed their chase of 151 almost to perfection, despite losing Mohammad Hafeez early, helped along by cameos from Sharjeel Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed and Umar Akmal.

Sharjeel took four boundaries off Dushmantha Chameera in the sixth over, hitting him twice over mid-on, belting one to midwicket and squeezing a four past point. Two overs later, however, he was caught easily at long-on off Dilshan’s bowling for a 24-ball 31 that had five fours and a six. Promoted to No. 3, Sarfraz bridged Sharjeel’s burst with stability in the middle overs before Akmal and Malik added 56 runs for the fourth wicket. Akmal finished with 48 off 37 balls with four fours and two sixes before holing out to Thisara Perera at the long-off boundary with the scores level.

Earlier, Dilshan’s innings could have ended when he was on 6, 7 and 64. In the fourth over, Mohammad Nawaz missed a direct hit from cover that could have found the batsman short of his ground. In the next over, Irfan dropped a simple catch running to his right from short fine-leg after Dilshan had top-edged a sweep off Shahid Afridi.

Later, in the 19th over, Dilshan top-edged a slog which flew towards Irfan at deep third-man but here, too, the fielder parried the ball down instead of completing the catch. Dilshan made the most of his early reprieves – he opened up after he was dropped the first time and left-arm spinner Nawaz bore the brunt of his attack.

Dilshan hammered him down the ground for three fours and a six in the sixth over. That 18-run over got Sri Lanka’s innings up and running, as Dilshan and Chandimal added 110 runs for the first wicket. This was Sri Lanka’s first 100-plus opening stand in T20Is since December 2013 and their third overall. Dilshan has been a common factor in all three partnerships.

After the attack on Nawaz, Dilshan used the pace of Wahab Riaz and Irfan to gather fours, and then played a slog and reverse-scoop off Amir. Chandimal tried the scoop once in the 11th over but mostly chose a conventional mode of attack. He got four fours through the covers, two behind the wicket and like Dilshan, struck Nawaz for a straight six.

Their partnership was broken in the 15th over when Chandimal pulled straight to Sharjeel at short midwicket, after making 58 runs with seven fours and the six.

Amir had an off day after a magnificent first over but, for all his fielding histrionics, it was Irfan who had the best bowling figures with 2 for 18 from his four overs. He was incisive in the 18th over, bowling Chamara Kapugedara and Dasun Shanaka out in the space of three balls.

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