Clinical Pakistan demolish Kenya by 205 runs
Hambantota: Pakistan opened their World Cup campaign with a thumping --run win over an unimpressive Kenya by 205 runs in a group A match at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.
For Kenya it is their second consecutive defeat in the mega-event after being demolished by New Zealand by 10 wickets in their tournament-opener on Sunday.
Pakistan will next play Sri Lanka in Colombo on Saturday.
Against Kenya, Pakistan produced an all-round display as after piling up a mammoth 317 for seven on the board, they dismissed the minnows for a paltry 112 in 33.1 overs.
Even though he failed with the bat, skipper Shahid Afridi (5/) led from the front while defending the target and returned with a five-wicket haul to notch up the comprehensive victory for the former champions.
For Kenya only four batsmen reached double figures with Collins Obuya top-scoring with a gutsy 47 off 58 balls.
Apart from Afridi, pacer Umar Gul picked up two Kenyan wickets giving away just 12 runs.
Earlier, Pakistan’s middle-order came up with a splendid batting display to steer the team to a massive 317 for seven after opting to bat.
Shrugging off a poor start, Kamran Akmal (55), Younis Khan (50), Misbah-ul-Haq (65) and Umar Akmal (71) chipped in with valuable half-centuries each to post a challenging total.
While it was the experienced duo of Younis and Kamran, who helped the team recover from an early stutter, Misbah and Umar capitalised on it to pile up huge runs.
From 12 for two in 6.5 overs, Younis-Kamran lifted Pakistan to 110 for three, sharing a crucial 98-run third-wicket stand before quickfire knocks from Misbah and Umar turned the tide completely in Pakistan’s favour.
Misbah scored 65 off 69 balls with the help of one four and two sixes, while Umar hit 71 off 52 balls, including eight fours and a six as they put up 118 runs for fifth wicket.
Batting first after winning the toss, Pakistan openers, Mohammad Hafeez (9) and Ahmed Shehzad (1) struggled against Kenya’s new ball pair of Thomas Odoyo and Elijah Otieno.
It was Otieno, who provided the early breakthrough for the African nation as Seren Waters took a fabulous catch to see off Hafeez. In the very next over, Odoyo got rid of Shehzad, who played 18 balls to score just one.
It was then up to the veterans Kamran and Younis to consolidate the innings. The duo responded to the calls but survived some anxious moments before opening their arms.
The moment Nehemiah Odhiambo was introduced into the attack, Younis went for a four followed by Akmal’s two consecutive hits to the fence in the same over as 16 runs came from it, including three no-balls that lifted some pressure off Pakistan, as they crawled to 40 for two in 10 overs.
Thereafter, Kamran started to dominate the proceedings and with the able support of Younis slowly but steadily build the innings.
Kamran soon completed his half-century but just when he was looking dangerous, left-arm spinner Shem Ngoche sent him back for a well-made 55 off 67 balls, studded with five fours.
Younis continued with Misbah-ul-Haq before Steve Tikolo cut short his innings of 67-ball 50.
Misbah, who was dropped on six, and Umar then toyed with Kenyans bowlers, sending them on a leather hunt.
Umar made the most of the batting powerplay that Pakistan took in 43rd over as 70 runs were scored in five overs.
Kenyans conceded 46 extras including 37 wides and by the time Odoyo (7-2-41-3) dismissed Umar and Afridi in consecutive balls in the penultimate over, damage was already done.
It was an important innings from Pakistan, who have not progressed beyond the first round of the World Cup in the last two editions.