Final: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, 20 Apr 2001|
Sri Lanka innings:
These two did well to take Pakistan past 200-run mark, which looked a remote possibility when more than half of the team had gone back into the pavilion by the 15th over.
Pakistan reached the two hundred of their innings in the 36th over, as 10 runs, including the first four by Shoaib, came off that Zoysa over. However, going for an ambitious shot off Muralitharan in the next over, he was clean bowled after making a patient 44.
Playing with a lot of concentration, Shoaib defied the Sri Lankan bowling for 75 balls, building a face-saving partnership of 51 with Saeed Anwar and then adding 46 with his skipper, before at last giving up his wicket.
Waqar followed soon after, hoisting Muralitharan in the same over to Zoysa at deep square leg, who took a well-judged catch. The Pakistan captain got 20 off 22 ball, hitting one six, as his wicket fell at 207.
There was a bit of drama in the next over when Fernando shattered Sami’s stumps off a yorker. The Sri Lankans jumped in joy only to see umpire Orchard signaling a no ball. Yet the victory was only delayed. The inevitable happened in the 42nd over, when the same bowler induced Saqlain to spoon the ball straight to deep square leg. Dilshan made no mistake in taking the catch, thus, completing a comprehensive victory for Sri Lanka.
Vaas bowled excellently for Sri Lanka, taking three important wickets for 36. Muralitharna, Zoysa and Fernando took two each for 29, 51 and 49, respectively, whereas the skipper chipped in with the vital scalp of Saeed Anwar.
Atapattu was declared man of the match after his fine performance with the bat.
After the fall of the sixth wicket for 108 in the 15th over, Saeed found an able ally in Shoaib Malik, the young all-rounder, as he steered Pakistan out of ignominy of getting out of score below 150.
The master stroke-player reached his 39th ODI fifty, 4th in this tournament, off just 53 balls, which contained 7 hits to the fence.
The 150 of the innings was reached in the 28th over, as Saeed hoisted the Sri Lankan skipper to mid wicket boundary for his first six. However, the left-hander didn’t last too long after that, as Jayasuriya got the sweet revenge by taking him off his own bowling for 62 off 64 balls.
Young Shoaib has so far batted quite sensibly, avoiding any adventurous shots and relying mainly on one’s and two’s, so as to give most of the strike to his more experience partner. He was batting on 20 (53 ball) when Saeed departed, and now it would by interesting to see how he plays the remaining overs, with only the tail-enders remaining in the innings.
If Muralitharan’s diving attempt at point to get rid of Humayun Farhat was brilliant, Arnold’s hop at mid wicket to dismiss Inzamam was just spectacular. And as if that was not enough, Jayawardene slid forward to get rid of Younis Khan, followed by a beautiful return catch by Fernando to relieve Razzaq.
However, it was all triggered by an agile Kaluwitharana behind the stumps, who took a low catch off Imran Nazir’s inside edge in only the second over of the innings.
Imran’s opening partner, Afridi, also lasted just around two overs, as he threw his wicket away in an attempt to score off virtually every ball. Starting off with a bang, hitting the first ball he faced to mid wicket for a huge six, the belligerent opener tried to hook a short one from Zoysa, managing only to spoon the ball for Vaas at short fine leg.
It was then Humayun Farhat, promoted in the batting order, and a composed Saeed Anwar who, batting sensibly and in a stark contrast to the opening pair, steered Pakistan out of imminent disaster. And what’s more, they did not only stopped the fall of wickets, at least for the time being, but also kept the scoring rate around 9 runs an over for the first the next five or six overs.
With Saeed Anwar presenting valuable counsel at every available opportunity, Farhat gradually gained in confidence after starting a bit tentatively, as he edged a few balls behind the wicket early in his innings. And as soon as he started to middle the ball, runs started to come quite freely with the score reaching 45 in five overs.
However, after the departure of Farhat (39 off 34), caught by an acrobatic Muralitharan off Vaas, wickets started to fall like nine pins. Inzamam lasted for just 7 balls, before being caught by Arnold off Vaas for 3, with Pakistan scorecard showing 95 for 4 in 12 overs.
Younis Khan, replacing Inzamam at the crease, hit a boundary to bring up the hundred of the innings in the 13th over, but that was all he was going to get, as he became Vaas’s third victim.
Fernando then came into the act, getting rid of a potentially dangerous Razzaq for 5 (8 balls, 1 four), with Pakistan reduced to 108 for 6 at the end of 15 overs.
Saeed Anwar, who thus far has only been a witness to this procession of wickets, has a battling 35 against his name, which contain 6 lovely boundaries. All he needed was a reliable partner, and he could have done all the scoring himself.
Atapattu, dropped by an otherwise reliable Inzi and bowled off a Waqar no ball, rediscovered his form at just the right time to lead the Sri Lankan onslaught after the departure of his skipper at 122. And after his departure, it was his partner in Jayawardene who led the massacre on the hapless bowlers.
Both these middle order batsmen rode their luck perfectly as they added 110 for the third wicket in quick time, taking the Sri Lankan score to 232 by the 44th over. It was the excellent foundation provided by these two that allowed the late order batsmen to collect 52 runs in the last five overs.
Jayawardene, who was dropped in the covers by substitute fielder Yasir Arafat while attempting a reverse sweep, employed the same shot to good effect against the spinners in the initial part of his innings, thus negating whatever spin they got out of the wicket. He was particularly harsh on young Shoaib, getting 30 from his seventh and eighth overs, forcing the off spinner out of the attack after his eight overs had yielded 56 runs.
Atapattu reached his fifty off just 88 balls, and after being dropped at deep covers by Inzamam, he went to score 39 more runs off just 31 balls. He was run out off a Saeed Anwar throw after making a fine 89 off 119 balls.
Undeterred by his partner’s unfortunate departure, Jayawardene continued to display his elegance, reducing the Pakistan attack to tatters. He did not even spare the experienced Waqar. Rather he showed his belligerence against the Pakistan captain by hitting the first two balls of his ninth over for two sixes to the mid-wicket fence, bringing up the 250 off the innings in the 46th over.
The introduction of Saqlain for the 47th over put much needed brakes on the scoring rate, as the wily off spinner got the precious wicket of Jayawardene. The right-hander scored an aggressive 67 off just 59 balls, before scooping a flighted delivery back to Saqlain.
Saqlain got another wicket in that over after Vaas, going for a big one, holed out straight to Inzamam at deep mid-wicket. However, this good work was undone by the spinner himself as he conceded 20 in the last over, including a last ball six by Zoysa, allowing Sri Lanka to 297 for seven, a very imposing total, in their fifty overs.
The Sri Lankan captain entertained the crowd at the Sharjah Stadium with a collection of pulls, cuts and drives to all parts of the ground, but not without enjoying a fair bit of luck. He got at least two breaks and both before even reaching his fifty.
First time it was the Pakistani captain, fielding at long on, who misjudged a hoisted drive from the rival captain when he was on 44. The bowler on this occasion was paceman Sami.
The second chance came in the very next over by Saqlain, when he edged the ball behind the wicket and Humayun Farhat failed to hold a sharp chance.
The young wicket-keeper seems to be having a difficult time behind the stumps. The bitter memories of the dropped chance would not have faded from his memory when he missed a stumping chance from Atapattu. The unlucky bowler was again Saqlain.
Jayasuriya reached his fifty off 72 balls, which contained two fours and three big sixes. It was not long until Sri Lanka reached their hundred in the 23rd over.
The Sri Lankan skipper got a few more boundaries, reaching 70 off 90 balls, before sweeping Shoaib Malik straight to Inzamam at short fine leg, who made absolutely no mistake in accepting that dolly.
Atapattu, playing to rediscover his form, meanwhile has grafted his innings quite sensibly. Avoiding any undue risks, he has mainly relied on singles and twos to reach 42 off 74 balls, whereas Jayawardene, coming to the crease after Jayasuriya’s dismissal, is on two. The Sri Lanka scoreboard shows 132 for two after thirty overs.
After getting just 14 off 31 balls by the tenth over of the innings, the Sri Lanka captain launched into the offensive, hitting Razzaq for 16 in one over, including two consecutive straight sixes, to take the score to 62 by the 14th over.
Before that, it was the Pakistan bowling attack, helped by some enthusiastic fielding, that put Sri Lanka on the back foot right from the start. Razzaq, opening the bowling for the first time in the tournament along with Waqar, bowled tidily, allowing little liberty to both Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana – a pair known for their belligerence and free stroke-making.
Waqar bowled a maiden first over to the rival captain. Kaluwitharana got a single in the second over, bowled by Razzaq, and then dispatched a loose one from Waqar to mid-wicket for the first four of the innings.
The Sri Lankan openers’ tentativeness, especially in running between wickets, soon proved fatal when Kaluwitharana gave his wicket away following a terrible mix-up between the two batsmen.
Going for a single after Jayasuriya had tapped a Waqar delivery gently into covers, he was found well short of the ground when Waqar fumbled with the throw from Shoaib Malik before shaking the stumps at the bowling end. The Sri Lankan stumper made seven off 11 balls and hit one boundary.
It was slow going for the Sri Lankans after that, as both Jayasuriya and the newcomer Atapattu took their time to get adjusted to the bowling, reaching 20 after eight overs.
The Sri Lankan captain, however, soon got into the groove, hitting Waqar over extra covers for the first six of the day. This shot was followed by a four from Atapattu off Razzaq, a sweetly timed flick off his pads to deep long leg, taking the total to 33 for one by the tenth over.
The young speedster Sami was brought on for the 11th over, and he was on target right from the start, bowling a maiden to Atapattu. However, the right-hander, who has been middling the ball quite nicely, cut Razzaq in the very next over for a classic boundary to deep point, taking the score to near 40 by the 12th over.
And then it was that Razzaq over, that went for 16, as the Sri Lankan skipper decided at last to shake off his defensive approach. However, the bowler almost had the last laugh, as Jayasuriya uppishly drove the last ball, which just managed to beat Waqar at mid on.
At the 15-over stage, Sri Lanka have reached 64 for the loss of Kaluwitharana with Atapattu and Jayasuriya on 17 (34 balls, 2x4) and 36 (47 balls, 1x4 3x6), respectively.
Pakistan have made only one change to their playing XI, with Afridi coming in to replace Faisal Iqbal. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have made two changes; Fernando and Dilshan come into the side, with Sangakarra and Samaraweera left out.
The crowd, as expected, is better than all the previous matches, as apart from the stature of the match, it’s a weekly holiday in the UAE. All the stands are brimming with fans from both sides, and if that’s not enough, there are long queues of people outside the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, waiting for their turn to find a place inside the ground.
Date-stamped : 20 Apr2001 - 22:33