Alam, Gul clinch thriller for Pakistan against Sri Lanka
Toronto, Oct 12 (IANS) Fawad Alam and Umar Gul led Pakistan to a last-ball victory over Sri Lanka in a preliminary match of the T20 Canada Cup at Maple Leaf Cricket Club here Saturday.
While Gul took four for 13 to restrict Sri Lanka to just 137 runs, Alam scored 23 off eight balls in the slog overs to take his team near to the victory target.
Canadians could not have asked for more as this classical duel on a beautiful day began with Shoaib Akhtar taking on Sri Lankan master blaster Sanath Jayasuriya - who dispatched the Pakistani speedster to the boundary off the second and third balls of his first over.
But Akhtar had the last laugh, getting Jayasuriya caught off his fourth ball.
The fall of Jayasuriya put no brakes on Sri Lankan scoring as Jehan Mubarak plundered runs off Akhtar and Sohail Tanvir freely, with Mahela Udawatte playing the anchor role.
In the seventh over, the Pakistani captain introduced himself into the attack to stem the run flow.
Shahid Afridi, who came to operate from the other end, broke the partnership in the eighth over when he bowled out Udawatte for 16. Mubarak too was removed by Malik in the 11th over.
After this breakthrough, Pakistan had to wait till the 16th over when Fawad Alam had Thilina Kadamby stumped by Kamran for 11.
The 17th over was the turning point for Pakistan when Umar Gul removed Chamara Kapugedera and Tillakaratne Dilshan, conceding just three runs.
Gul returned in his next over (19th) to grab the wickets of Farveez Mahroof and Thilan Thushara for just three runs.
Sri Lanka managed to put 137 runs for nine on the scoreboard, with Weeraratne remaining not out on 20.
In reply, Pakistan were in trouble soon when Mahroof removed both the openers within a space of two balls in the third over.
While Shoaib Khan Jr fell while trying to hit over the mid-wicket boundary, Butt was caught in front of the wicket for seven.
The new batsmen - Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan - negotiated the next few overs by Fernando and Thushara with a mixture of caution and aggression, scoring odd boundaries and a six in between.
But Weeraratne, who replaced Thushara in the 10th over, removed both the batsmen, bowling Younis Khan for 24, and having Misbah-ul-Haq caught behind for 20.
The Sri Lankan medium pacer put Pakistan in further trouble when he removed Shahid Afridi in his next over when the dangerous Pakistani batsman went for a big hit and perished for just one. At that stage, Pakistan were 69 for 5.
Kamran Akmal also didn't last long as he fell for 11 while trying to hit Fernando over mid off in the 15th over. Sohail Tanvir too fell cheaply to Weeraratne, leaving Malik virtually stranded at the other end.
With 46 runs needed for victory in the last four over, Malik took charge, hitting Sri Lankan bowlers over the boundary rope.
But it was left to Fawad Alam, who hit three big sixes in the last three overs, to pave the way for Pakistan's victory.
With 23 just off eight balls, he remained unbeaten till the end along with his skipper who took his team to 141 runs with a boundary and remained not out on 37.
Batting R B 4s 6s SR
Sanath Jayasuriya c Sohail Tanvir b Shoaib Akhtar 8 3 2 0 200
Mahela Udawatte b Shahid Afridi 16 21 1 0 76
Jehan Mubarak st Kamran b Shoaib Malik 39 29 6 0 134
Chamara Kapugedera c Haq b Umar Gul 27 28 3 0 96
Thilina Kandamby st Kamran b Fawad Alam 10 14 0 0 71
Kaushalya Weeraratne not out 20 13 1 1 153
Tillakaratne Dilshan b Umar Gul 0 1 0 0 0
Farveez Mahroof b Umar Gul 2 6 0 0 33
Thilan Dushara b Umar Gul 1 2 0 0 50
Nuwan Kulsekara run out 1 3 0 0 33
Dilhara Fernando not out 0 0 0 0 0
Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 1 for 31, Umar Gul 4 for 13, Shahid Afridi one for 20, Shoaib Malik one for 23 and Fawad Alam one for 13
Batting R B 4s 6s SR
Shoaib Khan Jr c Dilshan b Mahroof 6 7 0 0 85
Salman Butt lbw Mahroof 7 10 1 0 70
Misbah-ul-Haq c Dilshan b Weeraratne 20 20 1 1 100
Younis Khan b Weeraratne 24 24 2 0 100
Shahid Afridi c Kandamby b Weeraratne 1 2 0 0 50
Kamran Akmal c Thushara b Fernando 11 14 0 0 78
Shoaib Malik not out 42 37 5 0 113
Fawad Alam not out 23 8 0 3 287
Read More: Malik Pur | Malik Pur Gdso | Mubarak Pur Dabas | Shahid Gurdas Ram Road Zira | Dhanna Shahid | Alam Chand | Barauli Malik | Chamara | Alaidadpur Mubarak | Ushara Shahid | Kathwathia Alam | Mubarak Pur | Shah Alam Roza | Thori Mubarak | Khiria Alam | Chamara Gaon | Sohail | Soh | Chama | Tilla | Shah Alam Nagar | Salman Khan | Shahid Kapoor
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