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Malinga stuns Pakistan in Asia Cup opener

Updated Feb 25, 2014 04:59pm


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Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga (R) celebrates the dismissal of Pakistan's Bilawal Bhatti during their one-day international (ODI) cricket match for the Asia Cup 2014 in Fatullah. -Reuters Photo
Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga (R) celebrates the dismissal of Pakistan's Bilawal Bhatti during their one-day international (ODI) cricket match for the Asia Cup 2014 in Fatullah. -Reuters Photo

FATULLAH: Sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga grabbed five wickets in a devastating final spell to lead Sri Lanka to a 12-run win over defending champions Pakistan in the opening match of the Asia Cup in Fatullah on Tuesday.

Pakistan, chasing Sri Lanka's competitive 296-6, seemed to be cruising at 242-4 in the 43rd over following a fifth-wicket stand of 121 between skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal.

But Malinga turned the tables, finishing with five for 52, as Pakistan lost their last six batsmen for 42 runs to be bowled out for 284 in the penultimate over of the day-night match.

Akmal hit 74 off 72 balls with seven boundaries and three sixes, and Misbah made 73, but Pakistan were unable to apply the finishing touches as pressure mounted on the lower order batsmen.

Sri Lanka's innings revolved around opener Lahiru Thirimanne's 102 off 110, his second one-day hundred, and useful contributions from Kumar Sangakkara (67) and skipper Angelo Mathews (55 not out off 50 balls).

Sri Lanka were at 204-2 in the 36th over when Pakistan slowed the pace by grabbing four wickets in the space of nine overs.

Thirimanne and Sangakkara compiled Sri Lanka's highest second-wicket stand against Pakistan, adding 161 after Kusal Perera fell in the eighth over for 14.

Thirimanne, promoted to open the innings in the absence of the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan, hit 11 fours and a six before he was bowled by Saeed Ajmal in the 36th over.

Sangakkara continued the awesome batting form he showed during the preceding bilateral tour of Bangladesh, where he scored 319 and 105 in the second Test in Chittagong, and 128 in the second one-dayer in Dhaka.

The left-hander hit eight boundaries for his 84th one-day half-century when he gifted away his wicket, pulling a short ball from Gul to Ahmed Shehzad at mid-wicket.

Sharjeel Khan gave Pakistan a flying start, scoring 26 of the 28-run stand for the first wicket with Shehzad.

Shehzad was bowled by debutant left-arm spinner Chaturanga de Silva for 28, and Mohammad Hafeez was leg-before to Mathews for 18 as Pakistan slipped to 83-3 in the 14th over.

It soon became 121-4 as Sohaib Maqsood (17) pulled a short ball from Sachithra Senanayake to de Silva on the mid-wicket fence.

But Misbah and Akmal launched a brilliant fightback to raise Pakisan's hopes, before Malinga stepped in to steer Sri Lanka to victory.

India play hosts Bangladesh at the same venue on Wednesday. Afghanistan is the fifth team in the tournament which decides the regional champion in one-day cricket.

Comments (26) Closed

US CENTCOM Feb 25, 2014 09:40pm

Tough loss! Umar Akmal played brilliantly, and Pakistan should've won the match. We are missing a solid batting all-rounder. Bilawal Bhatti did not look confident, and maybe, he needs time to develop. But we don't have much time left till the world cup, and the need of the hour is to find someone like Abdul Razzaq to fill the void. Maybe that's easier said than done.

Ali Khan DET, United States Central Command

AJ Feb 25, 2014 09:40pm

Sohaib Maqsood may have scored a few runs in his last couple of outings but he is no batsman. He is more more of a pinch hitter who can't play along the ground like a proper batsman. Even if you look at his earlier innings, you will see that he was just lucky that all his high flying shots which always fall within the boundry, didn't fall in to fielders hands. Either he learn to play along the ground or he be replaced by Fawad Alam.

Khuram Kiani Feb 25, 2014 09:49pm

Great fight by Pakistani players. It was a big target, not easy for ay team in the world. Very impressive inning by Umar Akmal, Glad to see Umar Akmal back in form, he will be a big tthreat for India on Sunday. Disappointed by Afridi again he let the nation down.

Cricketer Feb 25, 2014 10:52pm

Again, time to drop Hafeez and Afridi.Bring in Younis and Anwar Ali

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Feb 26, 2014 12:01am

Once again the batting of green-shirts fumbled like a pack of cards. Losing last six batsmen for only 42 runs was a shame to say the least. What a tragedy?

WeCare Feb 26, 2014 12:37am

This is what I think is the cause. Despite Misbah's good batting, I continue to argue that he is not an intelligent captain. Team was balanced. The problem started when Pakistan started the fielding. It was evident that Sangakara was playing fast bowlers like piece of cake. But Misbah continued with all three fast bowlers just to ensure more ridicule of their efforts. I'd have quick introduced an un-expected spinner such as Ajmal or Afridi within first few overs to check Sangakara's consistency, but Misbah being a 'lakeer ke faqeer' continued with typical old style bowling pattern. Then he again introduced Bhatti. Since Bhatti isn't Wasim Akram, he kept bowling a same 3 common deliveries that he always bowls, and the result was more 'PITAEE' from Sangakara. Then on the batting side, Mr Afridi did what he does best and that is 'nonsense' shot. Though amazing effort from Misbah and Umar Akmal.

kamran Feb 26, 2014 02:11am

If Umar Gul is not fully fit he should be rested. Do we need him to be out for good like Irfan? If he is fit then why didn't he complete 10 overs. Strange...

Specialist bowlers and batsmen have to perform to win ODI games. Three are too many all rounders (Afridi, Bhati and Hafeez)

Khan Bhai Feb 26, 2014 05:16am

Bilawal Bhatti should have stayed on the pitch rather than throwing away his wicket and I'm deeply disappointed by Afridi. If Senior players like him don't perform then who will? You can expect Junaid Khan to score a century.

Nadeem Mirza Feb 26, 2014 05:45am

Younis Khan should be brought back at number 3. Umar Akmal should be allowed to bat at number 4.

aslam Feb 26, 2014 06:06am

Same old story we go again chasing is an inbred nightmare for Pak cricket since ages i reckon and no wonder they can do it comfortably ,with ease and more often. Don't know what to say here in terms of team changes/suggestions are concerned.. in tournaments like these every player has to come good and perform .. maqsood,hafeez and afridi are no good with the bat in this manner.. horses for courses now for team Pak against India ..must win in order to qualify i presume.. play fawad alam in place of sohaib maqsood ..or open with hafeez and remove sharjeel khan and bring in fawad for more solidarity in batting ...

sbad Feb 26, 2014 07:52am

Maybe our "seniors" can learn from our U-19 team :) ..just throwing away wickets as usual ...Afridi is a joke for a batsmen ...maybe can learn something from the fight displayed by U-19 Zafar Gohar?

AYOUB ALAM MOHAMMAD, C Feb 26, 2014 08:15am

No worries boys, you played well.

Haris Feb 26, 2014 08:39am

Afridi, the epitome of mediocrity makes Pakistan lose another game.

observer Feb 26, 2014 09:10am

More than credit to Malinga spell, it was Pakistani batsmen who just threw their wickets cheaply. Were they expecting Junaid Khan to score 30 runs from 14 balls? So much lack of responsibility.

Prabir Feb 26, 2014 10:29am

Only Pakistan can grab defeat from the jaws of victory.Repeatedly. Lost 6 wickets in 42 runs. That too repeatedly.

Javid Feb 26, 2014 11:48am

Malinga is World best negative bowler everybody knows exept Pakistani batsmen.

Faraz Feb 26, 2014 12:01pm

Unfortunate. Afridi should have stayed longer. His shot was good but the catch was better. We need match winners. Where are all the Misbah haters now?.... He is really the Captain Cool.

ABL Feb 26, 2014 12:10pm

Wrong title " Malinga stuns Pakistan", it should be read "Umar Akmal stuns Pakistan" as usual. There are strong similarities between Umar and Afridi. They have very high scoring rates, high probability of getting dismissed between 20 and 40 balls faced, does not believe in getting to the end of the 50 overs, and never listens to partner batsman advise who keeps advising them to play safe. They also have dissimilarities such as Afridi shots motivates and encourages bowlers that he can still get him out while Umar shots demoralizes the bowlers, his shots are quality shots and not pure slogs. Last night, Umar simply refused to listen to his captain Misbah which led to his poor selection of shot and getting out at a very critical stage. He simply could not analyze the seriousness of the situation and completely ignored Misbah's suggestion. I feel it is the job of the coach to sit with Umar to have few "mind flushing" sessions.

Aimen Feb 26, 2014 01:12pm

The top order, especially hafeez is to blame.Plus, Afridi, the walking wicket, had to throw his wicket away at the crucial point of the match.wouldn't blame Misbah and Umar Akmal.They actually brought Pakistan into a fighting position with their brilliant knocks.Umar needs to learn how to finish matches.Can't expect tailenders n bowlers to finish matches.VERY disappointed in Afridi!he always throws the match away!He should either be dropped or play as a BOWLER, not an ALLROUNDER.the worst part is that he's taking the place of a deserving youngster like Anwar Ali!way to go Afridi!continue being a walking duck/wicket and destroy the careers of young guys like Anwar Ali.Also, Ahmed,Sohaib n Sharjeel are young n deserve more chances to learn.

Aimen Feb 26, 2014 01:18pm

The bowling was outstanding as usual.Ajmal and Junaid's bowling was sensational in the last 15 overs and the death.They were able to limit the SL batsmen to 296 after their great start.Junaid just had a tough day at work and couldn't get any wickets.But Junaid Khan is a champion and he will surely bounce back in the next few matches Insha Allah!All the best pak tigers!

Effy Feb 26, 2014 02:26pm

if Shahzad had not wasted so many balls in the beginning, we could have won

Masoud Feb 26, 2014 05:12pm

Team Pakistan stuns all. Tall players became shorter

Pakfan Feb 26, 2014 08:06pm

@kamran:Azhar Ali should be played one down in ODI also. He justified the position by winning 3rd test against Srilanka at UAE.

John Feb 27, 2014 05:27am

The comments here are more interesting than the article. So many misses..... He should have stayed longer.... He should have bowled better.... He pays for himself..... We should fire him..... We need cricket in Pakistan....

Pochiraju Sivaram Feb 27, 2014 09:55am

Afridi should take some responsibility as batsman. His vast experience should have taught him a lesson or two in batting by now since everything is simply not '' bang bang''. Unfortunately,it appears that he is content more as a bowler rather than as an all rounder. The vacuum created by Md.Yusuf and Yunus Khan in the middle order is also felt badly.

Last Word Feb 27, 2014 06:53pm

Thanks to SL to make India's chances much better as Pakistan has never won any match against its neighbour in big formats so far.