Pakistan led by half centuries from Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik registered a comfortable win over Sri Lanka in a day night affair at Johannesburg. Chasing a challenging target of 190, Sri Lanka got themselves off to a bad start and never could really recover to get back in the game. Shahid Afridi once again proved to be the dangerous bowler for the batsmen with figures of 3 for 18 in his quota.
After Mahela Jayawardene had opted to field first, his two new ball bowlers – Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernando struck three blows to leave Pakistan at a shaky 33 for 3 in the 6th. But after that it was all Pakistan with the experienced duo of Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik taking them past the troubled period to a launching pad of 134 for 4 after 15 overs. Younis Khan was dismissed at this time but not before he had got a superb 51 that came in 35 balls with 2 fours and three sixes. Malik got his runs at a better pace, getting 57 in 31 balls with 4 fours and two sixes. Both Younis and Shoaib were dismissed by Lasith Malinga, who did take three wickets eventually but at the cost of 43 runs. Malinga’s third wicket was Shahid Afridi who made 17 in 9 balls. Misbah-ul-Haq gave a glorious finish with a couple of sixes of Jayasuriya in the final over. Jayasuriya had a day to forget as he got smacked away for 5 sixes in the 64 runs he had conceded in his four overs. Pakistan finished at 189 for 6.
Under lights, the brand new ball was always going to dart around and a bowler like Mohammad Asif is always too tough to handle. In just the second ball of the innings, Asif sent back Tharanga to the pavilion and his partner Sohail Tanvir ensured that Sanath had a disastrous day with both ball and the bat. When Sangakkara had played onto his stumps to Asif, Pakistan were smelling victory with Lanka at 35 for 3 in the 5th. But Mahela Jayawardene brought back Sri Lanka in the game along with the elegant Chamara Silva. Mohammad Asif soon lost his magic and even conceded two free hits in his final over which was taken for 22. Both the free hits were utilized beautifully by Mahela who got a six and a four of them. Asif’s figures got spoilt to 2 for 47. But the joy of the Sri Lankans was short-lived with Mahela Jayawardene playing a needless slog to be caught off Afridi’s bowling. The Sri Lankan Skipper made 28 from 27 with 2 fours and a six before departing at 88 for 4 in the 11th over.
Chamara Silva and Tillakaratne Dilshan kept the fight going for Sri Lanka with their attacking shots. But Afridi managed to outsmart Chamara Silva with a quick yorker that bowled him out for a well made 38 (in 27 balls with 5 fours and a six). Sri Lanka then kept on losing wickets at regular intervals to be restricted to 156 for 9. Tillakaratne Dilshan was the only batsman who was making things happen with his 28-ball 38 that had four sixes. Umar Gul was another outstanding bowler for Pakistan conceding just 14 in his 4 besides taking two wickets by keeping the batsmen on the backfoot mostly with his pace and lift. The Man of the Match was given for Younis Khan.