Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo
At Abu Dhabi, May 18, 2007 (day/night). Pakistan won by five wickets. Toss: Sri Lanka. Oneday international debut: M. K. D. I. Amerasinghe
The game was in the balance as Pakistan slipped to 137 for five, halfway through the 32nd over. They still needed 99, and new captain Shoaib Malik had just become the third victim in a comically poor exhibition of running. Yet within 11 overs Pakistan had coasted home without further loss. The main man of mayhem, unsurprisingly, was Shahid Afridi. In front of an adoring, teeming crowd, he thumped 73 from just 34 balls, including a remarkable 32 off Bandara's last over, via two slapped fours and four successive sixes, one of which was grossly miscued over long-off. That brought up a half-century which, at 22 balls, was pedestrian for him: he has made five faster ones. In spirit, if not in fact, the match ended there. Afridi overshadowed all else, including a nifty supporting innings from Kamran Akmal. Similarly overlooked was a punchy 69 from Maharoof, which ensured that Sri Lanka at least had a target to defend. And, typifying the modern game, Mohammad Asif's exemplary opening spell (8-1-17-1), which trumped Sri Lanka's decision to bat first, was all but forgotten too.