Abu Dhabi: Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka in the last match of the tour by 5 wickets at Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Aizaz Cheema was awarded with the ‘Man Of The Match’ award for taking 4 wickets.
Pakistan Cricket Team posing with trophy after winning the only T20I against Sri Lanka © AFP
A full house with a few thousand fans stranded outside the Zayed Cricket Stadium, some with and most without tickets, witnessed some entertaining cricket but once again Pakistan turned in a superior display to complete a Test, ODI and T20 triumph over Sri Lanka.
The Zayed International Cricket Stadium wore a festive look as the set of cheer girls received a huge roar of approval from the fans. And seated in the Grandstand were a large number of VIPs which included former Pakistan President Pervez Musharaf and current Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Salman Basheer, ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat among others. Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chairman of the Emirates Cricket Board also attended the match.
Misbah’s 38-ball innings helped his side chase down the 142 runs set for victory, after Aizaz Cheema (4-30) and Umar Gul (2-16) helped bowl Sri Lanka out for 141 in 19.3 overs on Friday.
Skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga got the Lankans off to a smart start reeling off 30 runs within the first three overs but Cheema struck to remove Tharanga for 12. While Dilshan slammed four boundaries in his 15-ball 28 it was Dinesh Chandimal who scored the only half century of the game. Chandimal’s 44-ball knock of 56 came to an end in the 19th over in which Cheema picked up three wickets.
Aizaz Cheema bagged 4 wickets, Umar Gul took 2 wickets and Saeed Ajmal/Mohammad Hafeez shared 1 wicket each. Pakistani bowlers gave 16 extras (lb 3, w 13).
In reply, Mohammad Hafeez (13) and Imran Farhat (19) steered Pakistan to 31-0 from their first four overs before their dismissals, coupled with Umar Akmal’s wicket, left the Pakistan chase staggering at 3-44.
Misbah and Asad Shafiq steadied the ship before the latter was bowled by Lasith Malinga for a run-a-ball 33.
Shahid Afridi (22 off 15 ; 2 SIXES) then combined with Misbah for a 43-run stand before being dismissed by Dilhara Fernando, which left Pakistan needing another nine runs for victory off the final over.
The first ball of the last over went for six runs when Misbah-ul-Haq punched it down to the off-side for two but Sri Lankan fielder Mathews threw the ball at the wicket-keeper’s end to run-out Pakistani skipper dramatically he missed the stumps, Sangakkara over-ran the ball and failed to gather it, there was no back-up so it raced to fine leg boundary.
Misbah-ul-Haq at the next ball took single and gave it to Shoaib Malik to finish things off. The next one was a good yorker by Malinga but Malik squirted it out and got a thick outside edge down to third man. Malinga appealed loudly for lbw but he was disappointed by the umpire’s call of giving the batsman not-out. Both batsmen ran three to saw Pakistan home (two runs were required but they ran three just for comfort).
Pakistani skipper once again proved that how fit he is for this format (T20), he remained unbeaten on 48 off 38 balls with three FOURS and a SIX. Pakistan chased the target successfully by scoring 142/5 in 19.3 overs. Malinga, Perera, Fernando, Dilshan & Mendis took 1 wicket each. Sri Lankan bowlers gave only 5 extras (5 w).
Patriotic & optimistic Men in Green posed in front of cameras with their 3rd trophy of the tour. Friday’s game was the only T20 match between the two sides, after Pakistan won their three-Test series 1-0 and their best-of five one-day international series 4-1.
Pakistan will now fly directly to Bangladesh from UAE, it’ll start its tour with the only T20I match scheduled on November 29, 2011 at Shere Bangla National Stadium. Whereas Sri Lanka will travel back to home and will start preparing for the tour of South Africa, both teams will face each other in 1st test which will start from December 15, 2011.
Result: Pakistan won by 5 wickets.
Man Of The Match: Aizaz Cheema (Pakistan).
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Comments by both captains & by man of the match:
Tillakaratne Dilshan (Captain of Sri Lanka): ”We were short by 20 runs today. We are not finishing well and we’re repeating this mistake again and again. Bowlers did a great job.”
Misbah-ul-Haq (Captain of Pakistan): ”It’s all to do with the teamwork, including the management. We were under pressure when we started bowling and the spinners did really well. We thought they were going to score 200. We (me and Afridi) discussed that if we both stayed till the end we would pull it off. I’d like to thank the crowd, it looks like we’re playing back at home.”
Aizaz Cheema (Man Of The Match): ”I thank my coach, captain and family. In the first over I wanted to bowl line and length and thankfully I got wickets. It was a very good effort on our part to keep them under 150.”