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Malik, Younis set up Pakistan victory
September 18, 2007 01:11 IST
Explosive half centuries by skipper Shoaib Malik [Images] and Younis Khan, coupled with a splendid bowling performance from Shahid Afridi [Images], helped Pakistan beat Sri Lanka [Images] by 33 runs in their Super Eight match of the Twenty20 World Cup in Johannesburg on Monday night.
After posting a a formidable total of 189 for six wickets, Pakistan restricted the Lankans to 156 runs for the loss of nine wickets for a crucial victory which earned them two points.
Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardena inserted Pakistan in and seasoned campaigner Chaminda Vass and Dilhara Fernando made life difficult for the rival batsmen with their accurate bowling.
However, the experienced duo of Younis (51 off 35 balls) and Malik (57 off 31 balls) shouldered the responsibility well and built a 101-run partnership for the fourth wicket by playing some breathtaking shots.
Playing aggressively, Younis, who was later adjudged man-of-the-match, hit two fours and three sixes for a half century before being caught by Tilekaratne Dilshan off Lasith Malinga [Images].
With five overs left, Shahid Afridi joined Malik and both of them continued the blitzkrieg without a break until the Malinga-Dilshan tango worked again to plot the Pakistan captain's downfall.
Malik hit four boundaries and two sixes during his entertaining knock.
A nine-ball 17 by Afridi and smaller contributions by Misbah-ul-Haq (16 off 6 balls) and Kamran Akmal (10 off 9) took Pakistan closer to the 190-run mark.
Malinga (3/43) was the highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka while Fernando (2/17) and Vass (1/23) stood out for their economy.
Backed by a big total, Asif claimed Upul Tharanga (0) and Kumar Sangakkara (18) and left-arm seamer Sohail Tanveer castled Sanath Jayasuriya (5) to jolt Sri Lanka's plans.
At 35 for 3, the script was similar for the Lankans, whose captain Mahela Jayawardene [Images] and Chamara Silva launched an assault without getting perturbed by the early dismissals.
The two put on 53 runs for the fourth wicket stand before Afridi applied his intelligence to get rid of the dangerous duo.
Jayawardena made 28 of 27 balls before being caught brilliantly by Mohammed Hafeez on the deep midwicket boundary.
Silva was undone by an Afridi yorker before contributing 38 off 27 balls, which included five fours and a six.
Sri Lanka lost two more wickets in quick succession as their batsmen desperately went for big hits.
With overs running out fast, Tillekaratne Dilshan waged a valiant battle to gather a 28-ball 38, studded with four sixes, which went in vain.
Afridi picked three wickets for 18 runs while Asif and Umar Gul bagged two each for Pakistan.