At one stage, it seemed that Canada would pull off the biggest upset of the 2011 World Cup but they only flattered to deceive as Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi’s five-wicket haul saw his side to a 46-run victory in a low-scoring World Cup Group A match at the R.Premedasa Stadium here Thursday.
Canada raised hopes of creating an upset for the second consecutive day in the tournament when they were 104 for four in 33.3 overs while chasing Pakistan’s modest 184 all out. But Afridi ran through the batting order as Canada lost six wickets for just 34 runs.
Afridi conceded only 23 runs for his five wickets as Canada were bowled out for 138 in 42.5 overs. Afridi was also adjudged as the Man of the Match as Pakistan won its third consecutive match in the mega event.
For Canada, Jimmy Hansra was the top scorer with 43 off 75 balls that included four fours and a six. Zubin Surkari shipped in with 27 off 67 balls.
Afridi described his team’s poor batting show as a wake-up call and urged his players to show improvement ahead of the tough game against New Zealand in Pallekele on March 3.
“It is a wake-up call for us,” said Afridi. “We gave a poor performance with the bat and need to improve,” he added.
Ashish Bagai, the Canadian captain, said that his team was disappointed to lose after giving an impressive performance in the first half of the match.
“Afridi was just too good,” said Bagai whose team is yet to taste a win after three matches.’
Earlier, making good use of the overcast conditions, the 23-year-old Chandigarh-born Harvir Baidwan (3/35) bowled at a good line and length to get rid of opener Ahmed Shehzad (12), Younis Khan (6) and Saeed Ajmal and gave Canada a realistic chance of causing an upset.
Pakistan, who went into the match with impressive wins against Kenya and Sri Lanka, were completely out of touch as the batsmen kept throwing away their wickets.
Young middle-order batsman Umar Akmal (48) and vice captain Misbah-ul-Haq (37) were the only batters who managed to spend some time at the crease while extras (24) were the third highest scorer. Skipper Shahid Afridi chipped in with 20 off 17 balls.
Jimmy Hansra (2-23), Rizwan Cheema (2-33) and Balaji Rao (2-50) were the other wicket-takers for Canada, who lost their first two World Cup matches against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe by huge margins.
Pakistan lost their first four wickets for 67 by the 16th over but Umar and Misbah gave the innings some stability with a 73-run partnership from 117 balls for the fifth wicket . But after the fall of Umar and Misbah, things fell apart from Pakistan. They lost their last four wickets for just three runs.