…. Pakistan wins its first ODI against Sri Lanka …. BOOM BOOM Afridi becoming Man of Match for his lethal hitting for opposition..
It was the first match played under captain ship of newly announced young captain, Shoaib Malik. Pakistan completed the target of 236 in 42 overs due to superb batting of Imran Nazir, Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi and Kamran Akmal. Sri lankans were unable to show any solid resistance at any stage of second innings when Pakistan was chasing the total at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Dubai.
No doubt the match was a sort of one sided match and Sri Lankan team failed to put any sort of any pressure on Pakistanis at any stage of the match but important thing to be considered is that they were not playing with their full strength as far as their bowling side is concerned. Chaminda Vaas and Murali are two pillars of their bowling line up and both of these were missing in the first match. But their batting strength was not at all week anyway. Pakistani bowlers performed very well and they didn’t let Sri Lankan batting line up create a heap of runs to let Pakistan chase. Sri Lankans lost their early wickets with regular intervals and at one stage it was felt that the runner ups of this world cup would collapse at a very low total of something less than 200. Farvez Mahroof gave some uplift to the score by securing his wickets and scoring the well needed runs as well.
Salman Butt and Imran Nazir opened for Pakistan in decent style. Imran Nazir showed aggression while Salman Butt played each ball on merit. Left and Right handed batsman combination was also creating troubles for the opposition and it proves aleways usefull to have left-right combination on crease for batting line as it makes things difficult for the bowler and fielders as well. Imran Nazir was playing well but was quite unfotunate to miss his well deserved 50 as he got run out due to mis management of running between Salman Butt and Afridi [Afridi was acting as runner for Imran Nazir after he was hit by ball]. Yasir Hameed again proved that his selection was not right for the worldcup as he failed to play on such a batting track.
Shahid Afridi was looking furious after a long interval and he played very good shots. He hit 32 runs off Malinga Bhandara’s over. It was no doubt his batting that caused the match to end quite early. He scored 73 runs off 34 balls.
Important things to be observed about this series are
- Captaincy of Shoaib Malik
- Performance of new / young players
- performance of some seniors who failed in the worldcup
In the first match, it was not possible to judge the captaincy level of Malik as it can be checked in pressure situations. As far as performance is concerned, we can see that mostly players who performed were not a part of team in the first two matches of World Cup. Above mentioned questions can’t be answered after a single match. It needs time and matches to be played by this young team.