Sharjah: Sharjah's die-hard cricket tragics waited eight years to see their favourite team in one-day action. They got their fill on Sunday, treated to five unforgettable vistas of Shahid Afridi's trademark arms-aloft celebration, as he single-handedly pipped Sri Lanka in a dramatic finish. Chasing 201 to level the series, Sri Lanka were on course with Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara reducing the equation to 46 needed off 74 balls. Afridi was, however, reading from a script no-one else had access to. He derailed the lower order with a mix of legbreaks, googlies and fastish offspinners, as Sri Lanka floundered hopelessly to lose their last seven wickets for just 19 runs, and with it the series.
That Pakistan even had 200 to defend was down to Afridi again, after they had disintegrated to 97 for 6. The situation was dire enough to force Afridi to change his normally aggressive approach and play within himself. Not only did Afridi manage the feat, he also managed to accelerate and finish with a (by his standards) modestly paced 75 off 65 balls, setting up the first instance of a player making a fifty and taking five wickets in an innings, twice.