AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
HAMBANTOTA: Shahid Afridi’s superb all-round performance helped Pakistan post an easy 23-run victory over Sri Lanka in the second and final Twenty20 international and level the series 1-1.
Sri Lanka were shot out for 99 as they collapsed, their lowest T20 total against Pakistan, after restricting the tourists to 122-6. Man-of-the-match Afridi was the star in a low-scoring match, hammering a 33-ball 52 not out and then grabbing two wickets for 17 runs in his four disciplined overs.
Afridi, who becomes the first player to appear in 50 Twenty20 internationals, hit one six and five fours in his fourth half-century. Pacemen Mohammad Sami and Yasir Arafat also impressed as they took three wickets apiece to keep pressure on Sri Lanka. Middle-order batsman Chamara Kapugedera top-scored with 19 in a dismal Sri Lankan batting display.
Sri Lanka, who won the opening match by 37 runs on Friday, were 76-4 at one stage before losing their last six wickets for 23 runs. “We were brilliant in the field but then lost our way in the middle,” said stand-in Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews.
Pakistan were earlier struggling at 41-4 before Afridi steadied the innings with a 68-run stand for the fifth wicket with Malik, who hit three successive fours off leg-spinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi in his 26-ball 27. Lokuarachchi bagged two of the first four wickets as Pakistan struggled, removing Hafeez (24) and Umar Akmal (five) in his four-over spell.
Paceman Nuwan Kulasekera finished with 2-13. The two teams will now play a five-match ODI series, starting in Pallekele on Thursday.