Asia Cup: Lanka thrash Pak

Sri Lanka registered a crushing seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in a Super League match of the Asia Cup one-day cricket tournament today.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Sri Lanka registered a crushing seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in a Super League match of the Asia Cup one-day cricket tournament today. After bundling out the defending champions for a paltry 122, the Lankans cruised to victory with 18 overs to spare in the day-night clash at the Premadasa Stadium. Weak innings by Pak Pakistan's hopes of redeeming their champion reputation, which has taken a severe beating in recent times, were dealt a huge blow after a disastrous batting performance in the afternoon. Inzamam-ul Haq's decision to bat first proved to be disastrous as his batsmen got out playing extravagant shots. Only all-rounder Abdul Razzaq produced an innings of some substance with a 71-ball 43. As batsman after batsman came to the crease and returned without a significant contribution to the scoreline, it revived the debate on the decline in their batting standards which had been the major topic during their series loss to India early this year. Razzaq was the only batsman to notch up a respectable score but, like his other teammates, he too was guilty of some unintelligent cricket. The right-handed batsman top edged a pull shot to end a vital knock when it was imperative to bat out the full quota of overs. Aggressive attack From the Lankan camp, Nuwan Zoysa was the chief wrecker with three for 29, while Farveez Maharoof grabbed two for 25 to leave the Pakistani batting in shreds. Marvan Atapattu's men were brilliant on the field as well, effecting three run-outs. Lankans fight back Sanath Jayasuriya seemed to rediscover his batting form with a fine 20 off 36 balls before Mohammad Sami had him caught by Younis Khan. Ironically, the inform Avishka Gunawardene, who had anchored Sri Lanka's innings in the group matches, had a torried time in negotiating the seamers. He survived a probing spell by Sami who bowled nine overs on the trot with the new ball. Shabbir Ahmed then came up with his reverse swing to bamboozle both Gunawardene and Atapattu, while Razzaq bowled a nagging line and length that gave little scope for the batsmen to free their arms. Atapattu, who had struck three stylish boundaries for his 19, perished when a leading edge off Razzaq went straight to Shoaib Malik at point. Razzaq struck again in his every next over when he sent back the left-handed Gunawardene. Kumar Sangakkara (14) and Mahela Jayawardene (19), the pair that took the match away from India on Sunday, knocked off the remaining runs. The total of 122 was Pakistan's lowest in the Asia Cup and its lowest ever against Sri Lanka. Smooth ride The Pakistani pacemen bowled a tidy line and length, and their control with the wearing whiteball under the lights only amplified the shoddy performance by their teammates. But there were really few hiccups for the home team as the target proved to be too small to defend for Shoaib Akhtar and Co. The hosts have now beaten both the major contenders for the title following their 12-run defeat of India in the group match on Sunday. Forthcoming battles Pakistan take on India in another floodlit encounter on Sunday while Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh on Friday before squaring up against India on Tuesday next week. The top two teams from the Super League will play the final on August 1. (PTI)