Afridi rescues Pak from the edge

Shahid Afridi struck with the ball once again to help Pakistan score what was eventually a complete triumph over Canada in the World Cup match at the Premadasa stadium on Thursday. Chasing a modest 185 to win, Canada could muster only 138 giving their rivals a 46-run win. The Pakistani captain hasn't contributed with the bat as much as is probable from him in this tournament. However, as a bowler, he has more than made up for his batting blemishes. His five for 23 on Thursday follows an equally inspiring five for 16 against Zimbabwe and his four for 34 against Sri Lanka on this venue.

Afridi's fifth fiver in ODIs took his wickets tally in the tournament to 14 -- the highest in the tournament thus far. His effort helped Pakistan to their third straight win in this edition and second in two meetings over Canada. It was also the former champions 10th win in 17 matches against six defeats -- at the Premadasa, while the result also helped bolster the overall record of the teams batting first at the venue in 75 day/night games played at the venue, the team batting first has won a whopping 46 and the team batting second only half the number.

Coming to the match ,a day after Ireland had upset England, another minnow, Canada, gave a good account of themselves, at least for two-thirds of the match. Only their batsmen could not complete the work that their bowlers had so believably done. The end result was a third successive loss in the tournament. The Canadian innings began on a disastrous note, with both the openers Ruvindu Gunasekara (8) and Nitish Kumar (2) going back to the pavilion inside the first five overs.

Captain Ashish Bagai (16) frustrated the Pakistani bowlers by sticking at the wicket for a few overs before his opposite number attentive him leg before. However, even he couldn't propel his side's poor scoring rate. If the Pakistani innings was slow that of the Canadians was slower. Only 25 runs were scored in the first 10 overs and the total was just 50 after 20 overs. In fact the Canadian scoring rate was well under three-runs-per-over till the 29th over.


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