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    Akmal, Tanvir deliver easy Pakistan win

    July 31, 2015

    Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st T20I, Colombo: A change of captain and personnel did nothing to halt Pakistan’s march on the current tour as it beat Sri Lanka, the reigning World Twenty20 champions, by 29 runs in the first Twenty20 International at the R Premadasa Stadium on Thursday (July 30).

    The key protagonists in the win were Umar Akmal, who smashed 46 off 24 balls, and Sohail Tanvir, who grabbed three wickets, as Sri Lanka was restricted to 146 for 7 after Pakistan had made 175 for 5 after Shahid Afridi chose to bat first.

     

    Pakistan got the early momentum courtesy Ahmed Shehzad, who contributed 46 off 38 balls. He helped steady the innings and put together a 42-run stand with Mohammad Hafeez (17) after Mukhtar Ajmed fell in the second over to Angelo Mathews.

     

    Both set batsmen were dismissed by Thisara Perera to temporarily halt Pakistan’s march till the Akmal- Shoaib Malik show gave the innings a lift.

     

    Akmal hit three fours and as many sixes during the course of an entertainment stand of 81 off just 45 deliveries with Malik, who remained unbeaten on a 31-ball 46. Binura Fernando, the debutant left-arm seamer, conceded 17 off the 16th over to trigger Pakistan’s launch as it smashed 70 off the last six overs.

     

    Sri Lanka’s inability to hit the right lengths proved costly as Lasith Malinga, the captain, went for 46 off his four overs to finish as the most expensive bowler.

     

    Sri Lanka was dealt a big blow right at the start of its chase as Kusal Perera fell off the third ball of the innings to Anwar Ali. Tanvir, making a comeback for the T20Is, then dismissed Tillakaratne Dilshan in the next over as the host slipped to 13 for 2.

     

    Dhananjaya de Silva, another debutant, looked promising during his brief knock of 31 to keep the team afloat along with Milinda Siriwardana, who made a sprightly 18-ball 35. But the inability of the other batsmen to convert starts resulted in its undoing.

     

    Chamara Kapugedera justified his recall with three towering sixes in his unbeaten 31 off 16 balls, but even that didn’t prove to be a soothing balm for the hosts.

     

    Tanvir, the left-arm seamer, finished with 3 for 29 and Anwar Ali took 2 for 27.

     

    The second match will be played at the same venue on Saturday with Pakistan looking to complete a treble on the current tour, having earlier clinched the Tests 2-1 under Misbah-ul-Haq and the One-Day International series 3-2 with Azhar Ali as the captain.

     

    Pakistan 175 for 5 (Malik 46*, U Akmal 46) beat Sri Lanka 146 for 7 (Siriwardana 35, Tanvir 3-29, Anwar 2-27) by 29 runs
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