It was one more stamp to ICC’s decision to have only one extra nation apart from nine test playing, as Pakistan beat Kenya with a massive 205 run margin. Pakistan mustered a huge 317 for the loss of 7 wickets and bundled Kenya at a meagre 112 all out. Umar Akmal was awarded man of the match for his quick fire 71 of just 52 deliveries.
It was clear skies in Hambantota and the crowd expected a full bloodied performance from 2003 world cup semi-finalist Kenya and World Cup 92 winners Pakistan. However, contrary to the expectation, it was a one sided affair with Pakistan throttling the opposition in the 34th over of the second innings.
Pakistan’s start to Cricket World Cup 2011 against Kenya must have reminded them of jinx of 2007 world cup. Openers, Mohd Hafeez and Shehzad were show the pavilion in the 7th over of the first power play with just 12 on the scoreboard. Kenyans bowled 3 maiden overs which was a thing of the earlier era. Thomas Odoyo and Otieno didn’t give anything away and kept a tight line and length. Pakistan, however, was rescued by the middle order with 4 of them scoring half centuries. The elder of the Akmal brothers with Younis Khan stood there for a stand of 98 runs before Kamran Akmal got out on 55. Younis Khan departed as soon as he reached his fifty, wrapped in front of the bowling of S Tikolo. Umar Akmal and Misbah gathered some quick runs for their team and gave a winning partnership of 118 of just 79 balls. Misbah scored a useful 65 while Umar Akmal was caught at a score of 71. Pakistan took full toll in third power play scoring a massive 70 runs between 44th to 48th overs with some scintillating boundaries.
Kenya started their reply to the mammoth 318 to chase with less heard of Maurice Ouma and Seren Waters. While Pakistan spearhead Shoaib Akhtar had a point to prove after the recent controversy. Akhtar was right on the money from the first over beating Ouma’s bat on more than a couple of occasions. Shoiab was all pace in his 5 over spell while giving away just 10 away. Kenya had got to a decent start with 37 on the board at the end of 9th over. On the first ball of the 10th over, Waters was run out with a brilliant fielding effort from Umar Akmal spelled doom for Kenya and their wickets kept bundling over at regular intervals. The lone battle observed only Collins Obuya scoring a respectable 47 while 5 batsmen didn’t even trouble the scorers. Umar Gul was impressive with his 2 wickets but the bowler of the day was Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi who didn’t do much boom boom with the bat but certainly made Kenya batsmen dance on their feet. He mixed it well with the off cutters, leg breaks and faster ones and ended up with 5 wickets for just 16 runs of 8 overs, which are the best figures for any Pakistan bowler in a world cup match beating the earlier record of Wasim Akram of 5 for 28 against Namibia.
Pakistan had a great practice before their tough matches coming up in the days to come with their fire power firing in all departments of the game.
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