1st Match: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, 8 Apr 2001
Mahmood Ahmad

Pakistan innings: Pak-15 Overs, Pak-30 Overs, Pak-50 Overs,
Sri Lanka innings: Sri Lanka-15 Overs, Sri Lanka-30 Overs, Sri Lanka-50 Overs,
Pre-game: Pre-Game,


Pakistan emerged victorious by 16 runs in the first ARY Gold Cup match against Sri Lanka, but not before experiencing some very close moments at the fag end of the match.

Sri Lanka, requiring 73 runs in the last ten overs and 27 in the last three came very close to pulling off a surprise win, after first de Saram and then Chaminda Vaas had decided to have a go at the Pakistan attack.

However, Pakistan emerged triumphant only because the Waqar-led attack kept chipping in with vital wicket at just the right time. The Pakistani skipper took four wickets in the match, three of which were clean bowled to finish with 4 for 49.

Sri Lanka, on their part, went on the run chase valiantly. After losing their fifth wicket at the total of 151 – Jayawardane adjudged lbw off Afridi for a personal score of 29 (44 ball, 1 four, 1 six) – Russel Arnold and de Saram added exactly fifty runs for the 6th wicket.

Although this sixth-wicket pair increased the score but the partnership did never look threatening. With boundaries almost dried down, the runs came mainly in singles and doubles, resulting in an ever-increasing required run rate.

The two hundred for Sri Lanka came in the 43rd over, after which Waqar brought himself back into the attack. And he found instant success.

The skipper struck on the first ball of his third spell, bowling Arnold out off a perfect in-cutter. He struck again on the last ball of the same over, shattering Muralitharan’s stumps as the batsman went for a wild swing after hitting a boundary on only the previous ball. This reduced Sri Lanka to 209 for seven after 44 overs, requiring another 47 to win the match in 6 overs.

De Saram, meanwhile, kept his cool at the other end, enjoying a fair share of luck also, as Pakistan fielders failed to hit the stumps on a number of run out chances. Pakistan captain struck again just when de Saram looked likely to run away with the match. After conceding a sweetly timed boundary through off side, Waqar replied by rocking his stumps for 38 (43 balls), which contained three hits to the fence.

However, the task was only temporarily halted after de Saram’s dismissal, not abandoned. Vaas started from where de Saram had left. Not intimidated by Waqar’s express deliveries or the tricks of Saqlain’s off spins, he found a couple of boundaries, reducing the required target to 21 in the last two overs.

Nuwan Zoysa started the 49th over from Saqlain with a ferocious straight drive that whizzed over the rope for four. However, going for a big heave on the leg side on the next ball, he was rapped on the back pad right in front of the wicket. And it was all over on the very next ball, with the debutante Ganegama failing to pick a wrong one from Saqlain and ending up being stumped for naught.

Saeed Anwar was declared man of the match for his excellent effort with the bat. He also shared the prize for maximum boundaries (8 fours) along with the Sri Lankan wicket keeper Kaluwitharana.


Spinners have done the job for Pakistan, at least to the point of bringing them back into the game after an 88-run second wicket partnership between Kaluwitharana and Atapattu had almost taken the match completely away from Pakistan’s grasp.

First it was the off spins of Saqlain and Shoaib, which put the breaks on the Sri Lanka’s scoring rate, then it was the latte who chipped in with two important wickets to make the opposition seriously re-think their strategy.

Shoaib struck on the third ball of his first over, 19th of the innings. Coming way forward to a flighted ball, Atapattu (28 off 52 balls) completely misjudged the floater, playing all over it. An alert Humayun Farhat behind the stumps did the rest of the work, dislodging the bails in the blink of an eye. That incidentally was the first victim of Humayun in international cricket, both ODI’s and tests.

Sri Lanka reached their hundred in the 22nd over bowled by Saqlain, after Kaluwitharana pulled the off spinner for a four then drove him through extra cover for two.

However, the aggressive approach of the Sri Lankan opener became his own undoing. Going for a pull in Shoaib’s next over, he missed the ball completely only to see his stumps shattered. The Sri Lankan wicket keeper made 63 off 73 balls, hitting 8 sweetly timed boundaries.

Mahila Jayawardene had a tough time against the two off spinners operating in tandem. However, he got into his act soon, hitting the first ball of Shoaib’s 6th over mid wicket for the first six of the Sri Lankan innings.

Waqar brought Shahid Afridi into the attack for the 30th over and that proved a useful change as the leg spinner got the dangerous-looking Sangakkara out for 11 (21 balls, one four). The left-hander just couldn’t resist the temptation to hit a seemingly loose one from Afridi. He went for the pull, mistimed it completely and was well taken by Imran Farhat at deep square leg.

At the 30-over stage Sri Lanka have reached 140 for 4 with Jayawardene unbeaten on 25 and Arnold on 1


Sri Lanka, led by Kaluwitharana and Atapattu, has gone on their run-chase in an excellent manner despite losing the wicket of Jayasuria without anything on the board.

Waqar struck on the second ball of his first over for Pakistan, getting Sri Lankan captain lbw for a duck. But it was all Kaluwitharana and to some extent Atapattu after that. Actually, the Sri Lankan vice-captain employed a very sensible approach when Kaluwitharana was clubbing the bowlers around. He resorted to taking ones and twos, giving most of the strike to his belligerent partner.

Waqar’s field placing left a lot to be desired, perhaps committing the same mistakes of which Moin Khan had been blamed, i.e. going on the defensive from the start.

Having new ball in his hands and getting an early breakthrough, the Pakistan skipper operated without slips in the opening overs. It was perhaps the result of this defensive ploy that both Sri Lankan batsmen got runs with ease.

The little Kaluwitharana was even allowed the liberty to collect three boundaries off Waqar’s 4th over, the seventh overall, taking the score to 40 by the end of this over.

The free stroke-play by the batsmen prompted an early change in Pakistan bowling attack. Waqar brought Razzaq to bowl the 9th over, which yielded four leg byes.

Sri Lanka reached their fifty in the 10th over, bowled by Sami, with the Sri Lankan wicket keeper doing most of the scoring and that mainly from boundaries. He exploited the gaps to maximum advantage picking two fours on the off side in Razzaq’s next over.

Sri Lanka have reached 75 for the loss of their captain, with Kaluwitharana batting on 46 (46b 7x4) and Atapattu on 23 (44b).


Sri Lanka fought their way back valiantly in the final ten overs to restrict Pakistan to what looks to be a manageable total. It was not only the bowlers who put the brakes on the Pakistan scoring rate, the fielders also did their job in an excellent manner, allowing minimum of liberty for taking runs.

After Saeed Anwar and Younis Khan had added 48 for the fourth wicket, taking the score close to the 200-run mark, the wickets began to tumble. This procession of wickets, in which six Pakistan batsmen were out for 58 runs, was started by Muralitharan.

The wily off spinner struck in his seventh and eighth overs (the 40th and 42nd of the innings), getting rid of both Saeed Anwar and Younis Khan at a stage when they were looking dangerous.

Bogged down a little by some tight bowling, Saeed went for a hoisted off drive, giving an easy looping catch to Arnold at covers. Saeed missed his century by ten runs. He hit eight boundaries in 117 balls. Speaking after the Pakistan innings, he expressed his disappointment over not completing what could have been an excellent 20th ODI hundred. "The wicket is placid and I’m really disappointed," he asserted.

Younis Khan was next to follow. After failing to find the rope despite trying a number of unorthodox shots in front of the wicket, the right-hander only ended up giving Vaas his first catch of the match. Younis made 37 off 43 balls with the help of one six.

Razzaq made nine (15 balls) before being bowled by a faster delivery from Sanath Jayasuria. This brought the two youngsters, Shoaib Malik and Humayun Farhat to the crease. They added 32 to the score before Farhat was out off a controversial decision.

He played the ball straight into Jayasuria’s hands at covers and went for the run. The Sri Lankan skipper hit the stumps but as the TV cameras showed, Farhat had dragged his bat in before the bails were dislodged. However, the third umpire could not figure that point out and signaled the batsman out.

Pakistan lost two more wickets after that. Shoaib Malik (24 off 20 balls) gave a simple catch to Jayasuria off Zoysa, whereas Saqlain was caught behind off Vaas after making 4.

All the Sri Lankans bowlers had their share of success, with Muralitharan emerging as the most successful of them. He took two wickets for 52 in 10 overs. The debutant Ganegama also took two wickets but he gave away 27 runs in his four overs. Vaas, Zoysa, Jayasuria and Arnold took one wicket each.


Saeed Anwar and Inzamam featured in an 88-run third wicket partnership to take Pakistan in commanding position at the end of 30 overs of their innings against Sri Lanka. Arguably the most experience of the batsmen in Pakistan line up, they played with perfect ease and authority after having been reduced to 61 for two by the 10th over.

Pakistan reached their hundred in 18 overs and the fifty for the third wicket was reached in the 22th over. The Pakistan vice-captain opened soon after, hitting the dangerous Muralitharan for his first six.

That was an amazing shot! Coming one step down the track, the big man hoisted the off spinner over deep mid wicket. There was so much power in the shot that the ball went out of the stadium, never to be recovered.

There was slight lapse in Saeed’s hitherto flawless concentration in the 25th over when the left-hander tried to lift the Sri Lnakan captain through the leg side ending up holing out to long off. Zoysa, the fielder, was a bit late in reacting otherwise the damage would have been done.

Sri Lanka got arguably their most precious wicket in the form of Inzamam in the 30th over. Playing a lazy on drive off Arnold, Inzamam offered a diving chance to Muralitharan who made no mistake at mid wicket.

After 30 overs Pakistan had reached 153 for three with Saeed Anwar batting on 77* (91b 8x4) and the new comer Younis Khan on 2* (3b)


Setting aside all the controversies and turmoil which has marred Pakistan cricket for quite some time, the Pakistani openers, Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi, started off confidently after skipper Waqar Younis won the toss and elected to bat first on a perfect batting strip at the Sharjah Cricket Ground.

After beginning the proceedings in a cautious manner, getting four singles off the first over, Saeed soon showed his class by hitting two magnificent boundaries off the next over bowled by Nuwan Zoysa. Afridi joined in soon after, hitting Vaas for his first boundary.

While Chaminda Vaas bowled some good balls, beating the bat on a few occasions, Zoysa kept conceding runs. However, it was the same bowler off which Atapattu, fielding at short cover, dropped a chance offered by Saeed Anwar. With his confidence shaken, Zoysa conceded 13 runs in his next over, including a huge six to mid-wicket by Afridi.

However, Pakistan’s dominance was to last just seven overs. Jayasuriya brought on Ganegama, the right-handed medium pacer, in place of the expensive Zoysa, and the debutant did instant damage.

After having the aggressive Afridi caught at mid-wicket off a mis-timed pull in his first over, he trapped Imran Farhat plumb in front of the wicket in the second. The first wicket fell at 49 and the second, that of Imran, at 61.

Not overawed by the situation at the other end, Saeed Anwar meanwhile continued collecting runs studded with a boundary every once in a while. He completed his fifty with a wristy glance to fine leg, reaching the landmark in 49 balls including eight fours.

Pakistan have reached 86 for two after the first 15 overs of their innings. Inzamam-ul-Haq, coming to the crease after the dismissal of Farhat, has so far kept a low profile, scoring nine off 11 balls, which contains just one boundary.

For Sri Lanka, the young Ganegama is the only successful bowler so far, getting 2 for 27. Murilatharan has yet not been introduced into the attack. He is the man the Pakistani batsmen will have to look out for!


Pakistan go into the first match of the ARY Gold Cup with five specialist batsmen and four specialist bowlers. Razzaq is the all-rounder in the side, along with Shoaib Malik and Humuyan Farhat, if one is prepared to call them so.

With two specialist spinners in Saqlain Mushtaq and young Shoaib Malik in the side, the bowling department looks quite strong.

The conditions at Sharjah are hot and humid, with the ground temperature hovering around 40 degrees Celsius at the moment, perhaps one of the reasons why Waqar Younis opted to bat first after winning the toss.

In the post-toss comments the Sri Lankan captain claimed that if he had won the toss he would have also liked to bat first on this wicket. So, Sharjah keeps up its tradition of providing batting tracks for its one-day internationals.

Sri Lanka, led by Sanath Jayasuriya is fresh from its overwhelming home victory against England, is also got a strong batting line up, including experienced players like Atapattu, Arnold and Mahela Jayawardene. Akalanka Ganegama is the only debutante in the match.

Pakistan Squad: Imran Farhat, Saeed Anwar, Shahid Afridi, Inzamam-ul-Haq (Vice Captain) Younis Khan Abdur Razzaq, Humayun Farhat, Shoaib Malik, Saqlain Mushtaq, Waqar Younis (Captain), Mohammad Sami

Sri Lanka Squad: Sanath Jayasuriya (captain), Marvan Atapattu (vice captain), Romesh Kaluwitharana, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Russel Arnold, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitaharan, Indika de Saram, Akalanka Ganegama, Nuwan Zoysa

Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka – An assessment
Rafi Nasim
The cricket festival at Sharjah commences today without India, abdicating the fabulous event for reasons best known to themslves, and Coca Cola pulling out as title sponsors of the tournament. Having staged more one-day international matches (167) than any other match venue in the world, Sharjah is strongly established to face such eventualities.

With New Zealand having taken India’s place in the event, and Pakistan and Sri Lanka being the other participants, the tri-nation championship is likely to be exciting as well as highly competitive. The tournament opens today with its first day-and-night encounter between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Having played a lot of cricket during the season, both teams are expected to be in good trim. While Sri Lanka thrashed England 3–0 in the one-day series at home, Pakistan lost to the Black Caps 2–3 on their soil.

Discussing the prospects of today’s encounter, it is not easy to predict a result. One thing is sure, however, that it is going to be a thrilling contest. Pakistan may have carried a fine blend of youth and experience but the absence of stalwarts like Wasim Akram, Moin Khan, Yousuf Youhana, Shoaib Akhtar and Azhar Mahmood will be badly felt. The cricket atmosphere at Sharjah creates such a spirit of competition that the participating teams remain under tremendous pressure, difficult for the youngsters to face.

Mohammad Sami is a promising pace bowler who claimed eight wickets in his debut Test in New Zealand, failed miserably in the Second Test and was unfit for the Third. Another paceman Kashif Raza, having represented Pakistan at junior level, is on his first visit to Sharjah. The onus of the pace attack which is the prime factor in one-day cricket thus falls on skipper Waqar Younis and Abdur Razzaq who has just recovered from illness.

As for Pakistan’s batting, Saeed Anwar has been off-colour for a long time. Inzimam-ul-Haq will be the key man to raise the Pakistan’s score to winning levels. Sri Lanka, being at relatively full-strength, thus appear to hold the aces against their depleted rivals. The nature of the pitch will have an important role to play.

© CricInfo

Date-stamped : 08 Apr2001 - 22:24