Afridi, centre, celebrates with teammates after dismissing Sri Lankan batsman Thilan Samaraweera [AFP]

Captain Shahid Afridi inspired his side with the ball as Pakistan upstaged hosts Sri Lanka in an 11-run Cricket World Cup victory on Saturday.

Afridi took four wickets and Misbah-ul-Haq notched a second successive half century as Pakistan edged past Sri Lanka in their World Cup Group A match at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, disappointing a partisan home crowd.

Afridi, who took his first World Cup five-wicket haul in the previous match against Kenya, captured four for 34 runs, to help Pakistan defend a 278-run target as they restricted Sri Lanka to 266-9 in 50 overs for their second win in the tournament.

The haul included Afridi’s 300th one-day international wicket when he dismissed Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara for 49.

Sri Lanka have now lost seven times to their subcontinental neighbours in the World Cup, falling in 1975, 1983 (twice), 1987 (twice) and 1992.

Chamara Silva, who made a 78-ball 57, gave Pakistan a scare with a 40-run stand with Angelo Mathews (18) before the 1992 champions held their nerve to win.

The win gives Pakistan four points from two matches and top spot in the table.

Big game

Man-of-the-match Afridi said: "It was a big game and the boys all knew how big the game was. The boys were a little too relaxed and we need to tell them on this kind of stage they should not relax.

"It's beautiful conditions, especially for bowlers. The wicket gives you turn and bounce as well, so it also helps the fast bowlers if they keep their line."

Afridi kept Pakistan on track by bowling dangerous opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (41) and Sangakkara before having Thilan Samaraweera (one) stumped and Mathews caught in the deep.

Scorecard

Pakistan innings

A Shehzad c Sangakkara b Perera 13
M Hafeez run out 32
K Akmal st Sangakkara b Herath 39
Y Khan c Jayawardene b Herath 72
M-ul-Haq not out 83
U Akmal c Dilshan b Muralitharan 10
S Afridi c Dilshan b Mathews 16
A Razzaq c sub b Perera 3
Extras: 9
Total: 277
Fall of wickets: 1-28 2-76 3-105 4-213 5-238 6-267 7-277

Sri Lanka innings

U Tharanga c Afridi b Hafeez 33
T Dilshan b Afridi 41
K Sangakkara c Shehzad b Afridi 49
M Jayawardene b Akhtar 2
T Samaraweera st Akmal b Afridi 1
C Silva st Kamran Akmal b Rehman 57
A Mathews c Shehzad b Afridi 18
T Perera b Akhtar 8
N Kulasekara c Umar Akmal b Gul 24
R Herath not out 4
M Muralitharan not out 0
Extras: 29
Total: 266
Fall of wickets: 1-76 2-88 3-95 4-96 5-169 6-209 7-232 8-233 9-265

Pakistan could have finished the match earlier had wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal not missed stumping Sangakkara on two occasions off spinner Abdur Rehman while Rehman also dropped a simple chance off Silva.

Sri Lanka had raced to 76 without loss by the 15th over before losing four wickets in the space of 20 runs.

Pakistan were earlier set on course for a big total by in-form Misbah-ul-Haq, who finished with an unbeaten 83 and Younis Khan (72) who added 108 during a fourth-wicket stand of 108.

With Pakistan looking set for a 300-plus total, Sri Lanka's bowlers, especially Muttiah Muralitharan, kept a tight line and length, only allowing Pakistan 36 runs in the five-over batting power-play.

The wily off-spinner, who finished with 1-35 off his 10 overs, conceded just five runs in his two overs with only three fielders outside the circle. Misbah hit six boundaries during his 91-ball knock.

Steady start

Pakistan, who won the toss and batted, lost Ahmed Shahzad (13) in the sixth over, before Mohammad Hafeez (32) and Kamran Akmal (39) steadied the innings during their second wicket stand of 48.

Hafeez opened up, hitting paceman Nuwan Kulasekara for a well swept six, but a crazy run out accounted for his downfall when he swept Muralitharan to backward square-leg without noticing Kamran running down to his end.

Wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara's throw went over the bowler's head but Hafeez, leaving his crease late, had no time to recover.

Hafeez hit four boundaries and six during his 31-ball knock.

Kamran, who hit five boundaries in his 48 balls, was stumped off Rangana Herath who finished with 2-46.

Younis top-edged Herath in the 41st over, and was smartly caught by Jayawardene after hitting four boundaries during his sedate 76-ball innings.

Sri Lanka captain Sangakkara, tried to look on the bright side.

"Any defeat is tough but quite a few positives to take. I thought we bowled pretty well on a pretty flat track. Unfortunately, we lost three wickets at the wrong time," he said.

"We made it a bit difficult for ourselves by losing wickets.

"We got a good start, we needed a couple of blokes to kick on from there and keep batting for a longer time. Unfortunately Pakistan played very well."

Source: Agencies