An all-round performance from Shahid Afridi helped Pakistan to level the 2-match T20 series 1-1, following victory in the second T20, played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota, on June 3, 2012.

The Men in Green were in all sorts of trouble when Afridi came to the crease at the fall of skipper Mohammad Hafeez’s wicket in the 11th over. However, his partnership with another former leader Shoaib Malik, which yielded 68, proved pivotal in another low scoring game – allowing the team to post 122.

His endeavours with the ball were as decisive as his game changing knock of 52. He cleaned up Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chamara Kapugedera to squeeze the Lankans in the middle-overs, before ending the game on a fitting note by claiming the catch of last man Angelo Mathews – halting the hosts on 99.

With roles reversed, Pakistan decided to bat first but stuttered in the first half of their innings. Ahmed Shehzad, Khalid Latif and Umar Akmal all perished on single figure scores, leaving Hafeez to score the bulk of runs early on. The skipper made a cautious 24 off 34 and when he fell; his team was again in dire straits at 41 for 4.

 Afridi rescued the innings with a fluent half-century, which included 5 boundaries and a six off Thisara Perera. Malik gave him ample support with an almost run-a-ball 27.

Perera intervened to dismiss Malik but their partnership had given the score some respectability. Afridi remained unbeaten till the end, despite struggling to add quick runs in the final over bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara. Apart from Sachithra Senanayake, all other bowlers were effective – either in restricting the flow of runs or providing the side with timely breakthroughs.

The Lankan experienced a similar run chase hiccups their opponents had faced in the first T20. Their collapse however, started a little late. With Mahela Jayawardene rested, Kumar Sangakkara opened the innings with Dilshan. Both had added 19 before Yasir Arafat accounted for the veteran left-hander in an over where he further dismissed Kulasekara, who was promoted up the order.

Boom Boom then delivered in the middle-overs – bowling some quick leg breaks which hardly turned - after which Sohail Tanvir, who was later presented with the Player of the Series trophy, cut short Dinesh Chandimal’s stay by bowling him around his stumps.  Mohammad Sami proved his worth with a fiery spell to get rid of three Lankan players, including the prized scalp of Perera – the Player of the Match from the previous clash.

Saeed Ajmal got his name on the wicket board before Arafat returned to dismiss stand in skipper Mathews to help Pakistan square the series. Afridi was deservedly awarded with the Player for the Match trophy.(Bettor.com)


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!