Asia Cup 2014 – Sri Lanka Send Pakistan at the Back Foot; Emerge as a Winner in Nail-Biting Contest during Opening Match

February 26 04:06 2014

srilankaBangladesh, Wednesday, February 26 – In a nail biting contest on Wednesday, Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan, the winner of Asia Cup 2012, by 12 runs. The match kept on swinging from one side to the other as soon as Misbah-ul-Haq Khan Niazi’s led Pak came on the field to chase the target set by Sri Lanka, which won the toss and elected to bat first.

The 24 year old Lahiru Thirimanne shaped in innings of his team, smashing a beautiful ton before succumbing to an enthralling spell by Saeed Ajmal. Beside him, Kumar Sangakkara (67 runs) and Angelo Mathews (55 runs) imparted major role in taking the Sri Lankan innings to a fighting total of 296 runs at the loss of 6 wickets. Pakistan, which are popular amongst all the cricket teams for their suppressing bowling attack since decades, were not as sharp as expected. Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi got 2 wickets apiece giving away 38 runs and 56 runs, respectively. Ajmal had to be satisfied with 1 wicket, though he turned costly by giving away 50 runs.

Not a single maiden over was bowled by any of the Pak bowlers as Mohammad Hafeez, Bilawal Bhatti and Junaid Khan failed to trap Sri Lankan players, who tried their best to be at the leading stage as soon as the Asia Cup tournament kicked off yesterday.

Opening batsmen Ahmed Shehzad (26 runs) and Sharjeel Khan (28 runs) gave a stabilized start to their team, which it required to reach at the target. However, just after a few deliveries, they were caught by S Lakmal and de Silva, respectively. Hafeez did not succeed to contribute much in the score of his team and was sent back to the pavilion as soon as Mathews got his wicket when the 33 year old right-handed batsman was batting on 18.

After his early dismissal, Misbah-ul-Haq played truly a captain’s innings. Facing 84 deliveries, he made 73 runs. Umar Akmal, who scored 74 runs of 75 balls, lent a hand to the Pakistan skipper and left no stone turned to take his squad near 296 runs, which became humongous as soon as the former was caught brilliantly by the Sri Lankan wicketkeeper – batsman Sangakkara. Separamadu Lasith Malinga, who did not even have a single wicket in his pocket for nearly 40 overs, got a breakthrough for himself and the team by bowling Misbah-ul-Haq out when the latter was turning up dangerous for Sri Lanka.

Malinga did not stop till here; giving a foot to the door, he made all rounder Shahid Afridi, Bhatti, Gul and Ajmal to depart at the scores of 4, 18, 2 and 10, respectively. The middle as well as the lower batting order was destroyed by 30 year old Lasith. Junaid Khan remained not out at 1 run but the moment last wicket of Pakistan was down, Sri Lanka got the chance to rejoice as they faced difficult competition from Pak throughout the match, especially by the time when Misbah and Akmal were hitting mesmerizing shots from the crease.

At one point of time, it seemed as if the last time winner of Asia Cup 2012 was going to win the match, but just at the another instant, Sri Lankan team made sure that it is not going to leave any weak aspect in front that could become the key cause of its defeat in the first match. Now, it becomes crucial for Pak to win rest of the matches if they want to head towards the finals without any trouble. In today’s match, India will contest against Bangladesh, which reached to the final of earlier edition of the same tournament by putting forward immaculate show. Virat Kohli would be guiding the young brigade to ensure his teammates are going to perform as with astoundingly with both bat and ball.

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