Undoubtedly, It was first-ever a nail-bitingly encounter in 2011 World Cup Group A league. Sri Lanka, which was bookies hot favorite today failed to chase the 277-run target set by Pakistan at Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
With this victory, Pakistan had also ensured that their undefeated record of the past World Cup encounters in tact. In all, Pakistan had played as many as 10 matches against Sri Lanka in the previous world cups and won all of them.
Leading from the front, the Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi could restrict Sri Lanka to 266 for 9 in 50 overs, with a personal bowling haul of 4 for 34 off 10 overs. He yet again proved a hero with his sterling performance as he got rid of the most dangerous Dilshan (41 off 55), Sangakkara (48 off 61), Thilan Samarraweera (1 off4) and the explosive Angelo Mathews (18 off 20 balls)
Chasing 278 to win as the islanders fell to their first loss in World Cup matches at home.
Pakistan made hard work of winning the match that looked to be easily going their way at the start of the Sri Lankan innings, with missed stumpings, catches and misfields giving the Sri Lankans a whiff of a chance.
When Kumar Sangakkara was at the crease, Sri Lanka had hope on a day that saw the strong middle order of Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera fail.
Kamran Akmal missed two chances for stumping Sangakkara, both times off Abdul Rehman, who himself dropped Chamara Silva off Umar Gul, on a fielding day Pakistan would want to forget.
Chamara Silva, who top scored with a combative 57 off 78 balls and Nuwan Kulasekara with 24 off 14 balls tried to win it for Sri Lanka, but fell short in the end. Shoaib Akhtar took 2 for 42 in support of his captain.
Earlier, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan hit intelligent fifties to propel Pakistan to 277 in their big World Cup Pool A game against co-hosts Sri Lanka. Misbah, Pakistan vice-captain, struck an unbeaten 83 – his second consecutive fifty in the tournament – while Younis followed his 50 against Kenya in Hambantota with a 76-ball 72. The senior duo put on 108 off 123 balls for the fourth wicket to give Pakistan a respectable total to defend. Pakistan was placed at 105-3 when Misbah joined Younis and together they made good use of the middle overs.
The Pakistanis, however, failed to make the most of the last ten overs including the batting power-play as they were tied down by veteran spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and Nuwan Kulasekera. Murali, playing his last World Cup, finished with impressive figures of 1-35 in his ten overs. He gave away just five runs in his last two overs during batting powerplay. Fast bowler Kulasekera, too, was impressive as he bowled several dot balls during the death overs.
With this convincing second victory in their group, Afridi-led young Pakistan team’s morale quite high of repeating their 1992 fete.