Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 15, 2012

Maharoof's juggling act and Younis' quick reflexes

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the Asia Cup match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Mirpur

The juggle
Younis Khan isn't having a great time with the bat and his fallow run in one-dayers continued as he was dismissed for 2 by Suranga Lakmal. He clipped the ball towards mid-on and it was dying as it looped towards Farveez Maharoof. Maharoof lunged forward and managed to get his fingers under the ball, but when he landed it popped out prompting a juggle from the prone Maharoof, and he still couldn't get it under control. The ball was spinning furiously on the palm of his left hand, and threatening to spill out, before Maharoof finally managed to firmly latch on to it.

The dreaded over
Memo to Sri Lanka's batsmen: just defend the first over of the batting Powerplay. In the deciding final of the Commonwealth Bank series, Chamara Kapugedera was dismissed in it, leaving Upul Tharanga and the tail too much to do. Against India two days ago, Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara had kept Sri Lanka in the game with a steady partnership, but both fell during the same over, more or less ending the contest. Today, after Sangakkara and Tharanga had hauled back Sri Lanka from the depths of 65 for 4, a Saeed Ajmal doosra fooled Tharanga in the 36th over. That opened the gates for a slump as 161 for 4 quickly turned into 188 all out.

The disdain
After winning the toss, Sri Lanka's openers went for their shots right from the start. With 17 runs coming off Aizaz Cheema in the second over, Pakistan tried to choke the runs in his next over by packing the off-side. As Tillakaratne Dilshan loves going for the powerful cut, and routinely threads the ball through cover with on-the-up drives, Pakistan placed a short point, short extra cover, cover and backward point to block those shots. Cheema bowled to his field as well, landing it just short of a length and outside off. Dilshan's response? An explosive stand-and-deliver carve past a diving short point fielder for four.

The catch
Younis Khan may be one of the senior statesmen in the Pakistan side, but he is showing no signs of slowing down in the field. On the tour of Bangladesh three months ago, he pulled off a blinder, flying to his right to pull off a one-handed take and dismiss Shahadat Hossain. Today's effort was less spectacular, but a better batsman was dismissed. An attempted dab from Dinesh Chandimal flew quick and low to Younis' left at wide slip, but it wasn't quick enough to evade a diving Younis.

The release
Misbah-ul-Haq made a speedy start to his innings, galloping to 17 off 18 deliveries. He was then bogged down by some naggingly accurate bowling, and he could only make four runs off his next 22 balls. Just as impatient Pakistan fans started muttering about the slow-going, Misbah gave them what they want to see more of from him in limited-overs - a big six, thumping legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna way over long-on.

Edited by Tariq Engineer

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2012, 1:48 GMT

    Mr. Sehajpal Cheema, I thought you said Impossible!

  • Rukshan on March 16, 2012, 21:53 GMT

    @SehajpalCheema ....what do you have to say now...impossible defeat...hahaha!!!

  • Dru on March 16, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    The bottom line here is Pakistan have a serious bowling attack. Their seam and spin options are by far the best in the tournament and SL were no where mainly becuase I dont beleive the guys are mentally ready or looking forward to this torunament. Yes sounds like a weak excuse but I feel its the reality. I also dont think they have played smart cricket in th two games, trying to smash their way to wins which is not going to work on slow tracks unless you get your eye in. The one thing that should concern SL is the lack of a wicket taking spineer which all the other teams seem to have.

  • karthik on March 16, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    Super comedy by heartbreakers !

  • Weerasiri on March 16, 2012, 3:11 GMT

    About sAiyAnsstAr's comment above, the only two bouncy tracks in Sri Lanka are at Dambulla and Hambantita, where the predominant soil type is known as Reddish Brown Earth, which has a clay content of about 40%. The clay content of 40% enables us to prepare wickets that are equivalent to English or New Zealand wickets. To prepare wickets that are similar to Australian and South African wickets we have to have a clay content of about 50%. The clay content can easily be increased to 50% by adding clay to the soil mixture. The clay fraction of any soil can be separated by a simple process of sedimentation and precipitation, known to soil scientists. The problem however, is that our boys are not prepared to practice on bouncy tracks! How many times have we seen our team practicing at Dambulla before going to Australia or England?

  • Dummy4 on March 16, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    There is no gainsaying that India and Pakistan are the two best teams in the subcontinent. Sri Lanka has to brazen it out with Bangladesh for the fourth place. In this Asia cup, Bangladesh might even put it over Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka will never beat India for obvious reasons.

  • Sehajpal on March 16, 2012, 1:32 GMT

    IRONY AT ITS BEST. lolzz "It is still in our control and we do not have to depend on others to go through. We like it that way" Im afraid you dont have it that way now Mahela. You are depending on an IMPOSSIBLE India defeat to Bangladesh. Better pack your bags and go shopping for a few days. I know he must just want to go home now but SL still have a dead game to go. These wickets are slower and lower than AUS and you cannot just go Bang Bang at the top and "hope" to bat through 50 overs. Look at how Gautam and Virat batted and paved the way for an assault later. You need to learn from how India have been beating you lately. Two India Pak games. DREAM COME TRUE :))

    Here are the flight details btw

    Date 21/03 Flight Departure: Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka FLight Arrival: Colombo Passengers: Sri Lanka Nation Cricket Team

  • imran on March 16, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    @vsid....ind will get a beating from Pak...ofcourse...dat will happen only if india gets 2 d finals

  • DaGame on March 15, 2012, 23:53 GMT

    @sAiyAnstAr..Sorry but India won the Last CB series in Australia also featuring SL in 2008. Oh you conveniently forgot that..One more thing India also won the test match in Perth in that same year..yes in forgot that too. SL have only just won 1 game against India in their last 6 games including on pitches of Australia and still you say you're better. Come on dude...I seriously like SL's consistency..but you are over-selling yourself.

  • crik on March 15, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    Where are these sirils when you needed 'em the most? I told over and over that SL is phony and they can't win any...

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