Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st T20, Hambantota June 1, 2012

Perera, Mathews fashion massive win in low-scorer


Sri Lanka 132 for 7 (Perera 32*, Tanvir 3-12) beat Pakistan 95 (Mathews 2-8, Malinga 2-12, Kulasekara 2-13) by 37 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sri Lanka threw their wickets away through reckless shots, conceded 17 runs through wides and about 10 through misfields, but thanks to the Josephian Mafia - a moniker Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews have earned from the school they shared - still won by a whopping 37 runs. It was an unremarkable night of cricket with most of the wickets owing neither to the bowling nor the pitch, but many will argue it's a trait that can be attributed to Twenty20 cricket in general because of the devaluation of a wicket.

Perera and Mathews, though, stood out. Perera first scored a two-a-ball 32 to give Sri Lanka a fighting chance from 89 for 7. Mathews then bowled a testing spell of outswing for eight runs and two wickets. The two came together when Perera flew at third man to catch Shoaib Malik off the bowling of Mathews. Perera and Mathews were the highlight of the night, which featured a lot of inexplicable cricket otherwise.

At the top of the innings, having won the toss, three Sri Lankan batsmen used to Twenty20 cricket of late in the IPL, got themselves out in Sohail Tanvir's first three overs. Jayawardene got a leading edge before judging the pace of the pitch, Dilshan picked out fine leg, and Sangakkara dragged a full and wide delivery on. On another day all three could have gone for boundaries, and the bowler and the pitch would have had just as much to do with it.

The remaining batsmen struggled to find balance between rebuilding and keeping the rate up. Both Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews survived run-out chances before slogging and connecting with thin air.

Thirty-three-year-old debutant wicketkeeper Shakeel Ansar then missed a chance to stump Lahiru Thirimanne. The batsman proceeded to add 22 to his eight then. Ansar made a comeback, though, when he broke 24-run partnership between Thirimanne and another debutant Kaushal Lokuarachchi with a direct flick. Thirimanne followed it up with a reverse-sweep straight down short-third man's throat. At 89 for 7 in the 17th over, Sri Lanka threatened to not even bat out their allocation.

Perera, though, turned the momentum a little with some clean hitting. Most of it came off the bowling of Umar Gul, whose last two overs went for 30. Still, going into the break, Pakistan were the favourites. Only for two balls. Two inexplicable deliveries when first-time captain Mohammad Hafeez and Ansar indulged in a spot-the-point-fielder contest. Nuwan Kulasekara laughed his way to two wickets with short and wide deliveries. Last checked, Hafeez and Ansar were watching replays and arguing as to who found Dilshan better.

The others didn't find fluency at all as Pakistan confounded all by not sending Umar Akmal in before No. 6. Ahmed Shehzad played a long innings, but his strike-rate of under 100 could have worked if other batsmen had hung around. Mathews got Khalid Latif and Malik, and at 46 for 4 in the 10th over, Akmal felt obliged to hit out. Except it's not easy when Malinga is bowling. A top edge ended it for Akmal, and it was all over bar Shahid Afridi.

That lasted two deliveries as Afridi heaved at offspinner Sachitra Senanayake, and edged him to third man. The formalities were finished soon, with Perera fittingly taking the last wicket.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Deepak on June 4, 2012, 18:22 GMT

    What's the big talk about Shehzad all about?? One good tournament of some gully cricket BPL has made him the star. I can't believe it. Imran Nazir is Pakistan's best T20 batsman without a doubt. Shehzad is nothing, he has a long long way to go.

  • amasha on June 4, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    Way to go mathews!!!!!!and perera!!

  • Suj on June 2, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    Shahid Afridi should be treated as a bowler. He is not an all-rounder. He is an amazing bowler who can bat a bit ... He should not be classed the same way a Kallis or a Watson is.

  • Muhammad on June 2, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    as it was on the cards, Pakistan again lost by batting fumble. As for srilanka, a good win as none of their main players made a main contribution; Mahela, Dilsha, Sanga, Malinga, still the others took them through!

  • Prashan on June 2, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    @sobersfan, Ajmal has not many years left. He will have to retire in 2 or 3 years maximum from now. Sachithra Senanyake has plenty left in him and will be our future match winner.

  • Dummy4 on June 2, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    @Sheela ahhhhha lool u trying to invent a new kind of match or joking??!! lol

  • Dummy4 on June 2, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    Pakistan need one or Two solid batsman who can keep one end going otherwise wicket will gonna fell from both the side and they shattered

  • Dummy4 on June 2, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    Mathewes and Thisara jus showed glimpse of the true Josephian Class they posess......Hail tha lions!!!

  • JAYARAMAN on June 2, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    In T20 boundaries are shortened. With 10 wickets available for the reduced 20 overs, batsmen take undue risks and subsequently resulting in spectacular battting or abject failures. These are basic facts and no amount of argument can make T20 a scientific cricket match. First of all minimum boundary distance should be 80 yards from the centre. Large number of 6s hit would get substantially reduced if boundary lines are at 80 yards. Another suggestion is that team can be considered to be all out if the team loses 7 wickets and this will automatically reduce reckless shots.

  • adithya on June 2, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    @sinhaya,pak will beat sl in next t20.i disagree with ur comments on senanayake.ajmal is the best spinner in the world and he is the next muralidharan.

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