Sri Lanka beat Pakistan
It was a mismatch with Pakistan well and truly whipped by a professional Sri Lankan team in a totally one-sided affair by seven wickets in the Khaleej Times Trophy here at the Sharjah Stadium Saturday.
A total of 176 to overhaul on a placid wicket was never going to be testing one barring a sensational collapse which never materialized as Pakistan's over-rated attack except Wasim Akram posed few problems to the Sri Lankan batsmen.
The only bright spots for Pakistan in the field was Wasim Akram who bowled his heart out but was desperately unlucky not to be amongst wickets.
While the bowling lacked penetration the buttered fingered fielders also compounded the problems. Sanath Jayasuriya was dropped by Shoaib Malik in Waqar Younis' third over.
Aviskha Gunawardena, who enjoyed a charmed life especially during Wasim Akram's opening burst, too was put down by Saeed Anwar in the 60s. Later named Man-of-the-Match, Gunawardena was eventually dismissed for 88. He slammed 13 fours and faced 122 balls.
Pakistan on this performance will have to improve beyond recognition to even beat the current 'whipping boys' Zimbabwe tomorrow to make next Sunday's final.
Pakistan batting crumbles
A series of nothing strokes by top order batsmen was the major contributory factor in Pakistan's pathetic total of 176 after Waqar Younis opted to bat first under perfect batting conditions.
There was no venom in the pitch or the moderate Sri Lankan attack but it was some senseless strokeplay by Pakistanis that gave Sri Lanka an easy target to achieve.
While the Sri Lankan bowling could be described as moderate but the islanders' outcricket was simply outstanding. Chaminda Vaas and Mahela Jayawardena took blinders to remove Yousuf Youhana and Wasim Akram respectively.
Only a sensible 47 by Youhana saved Pakistan from even getting out for a much lower total but he too was guilty of throwing his wicket when well set.
Gangling medium-pacer Dilhara Fernando and Prabath Nissanka, playing his first One-day International, did the early damage reducing Pakistan to 67 for five wickets by the 18th over.
Taufiq Umer dragged a ball onto his stumps, Saeed Anwar, batting at number three, gave a return catch, Shahid Afridi spooned a dolly to mid-wicket, while Younis Khan and Rashid Latif got out playing extravagant strokes.
Youhana and Abdur Razzaq tried to check the slide and put on 50 for the sixth wicket but both got out to loose strokes, ending any hopes of reaching a respectable total.