Sri Lanka had to settle for the unenvious record of never being able to beat Pakistan in a World Cup even though Sri Lanka came tantalizingly close to lose the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 match by eleven runs.
Pakistan’s campaign did not really truly begin until Younis Khan and Misbah ul Haq joined forces and together they showed why Pakistan does have such a wealth of experience. Two of the most established senior cricketers, although Misbah has never played a World Cup before, showed their strength as they took Pakistan almost way beyond Sri Lanka’s reach at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Sri Lanka.
Their 108 run partnership for the fourth wicket meant that Pakistan had pushed what they had been trying to do since the start of the innings by pushing the Sri Lankan bowlers. Tissara Perera kept a check on Pakistan by picking a couple of wickets but it was Misbah and Younis who took Pakistan to a position of strength.
However, Younis’ seventy-two and Misbah’s eighty-three failed to have the right kind of follow up, which meant that Pakistan who looked good to touch the 300 mark comfortably were instead relegated to being checked by the Sri Lankan bowlers as the innings drew to a close. In the end, Pakistan’s 277 suggested that the visitors had clearly restrained themselves when they should have capitalized on the launch.
Sri Lanka’s fortunes ebbed and flowed in the course of their batting innings, with the opening partnership of seventy-six runs between Upul Tharanga and Tillekeratne Dilshan built up hopes.
However, Sri Lanka’s innings suffered a serious wobble, losing four wickets for ninety-six in only twenty-two overs. When Sri Lanka lost their captain, Kumar Sangakkara, for forty-nine runs with the score on 169 in the thirty-eighth over, it seemed Sri Lanka had lost the momentum they had so painstakingly built.
With the contest virtually out of their hands and the Pakistan captain, Shahid Afridi, rattling the hosts as did Shoaib Akhtar, Sri Lanka did not look like they had a chance. But Chamara Silva had other ideas. His half century slowly edged Sri Lanka close to Pakistan’s total and in the finish run, it seemed Pakistan may rue their fielding lapses as well as the fact that they did not make their innings count for more.
Silva’s wicket to Abdur Rehman tilted the match in Pakistan’s favour once more with Sri Lanka’s score on 233 and with eighteen runs required from the final over, Pakistan reigned supreme with Afridi in the thick of things with four wickets.