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Afridi takes five as Pakistan avoid mishaps


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PAKISTAN launched their World Cup with captain Shahid Afridi back leading from the front with his first ever five-wicket haul in the event to crush a very sloppy Kenya by 205 runs in Group A yesterday.

The Kenyan batsmen had no answer to captain Afridi’s tantalising leg-spinners as they slumped to 112 in 33.1 overs chasing Pakistan’s total of 317-7.

Afridi, who ended up with figures of five for 16 off eight overs, was diplomatic with his comments following what was effectively a gentle workout for their next much bigger test against Sri Lanka on Saturday (February 26) in Colombo.

“We bowled well and we batted well,” said Afridi simply. “The success is because the boys are playing as a unit.”

Pakistan will doubtless be relieved to have avoided an early banana skin after their experiences of the last World Cup in 2007 when they crashed out at the first stage but Kenya once again disappointed following their 10-wicket thrashing by New Zealand on Sunday (February 20).

On that occasion, a disastrous batting display in which they managed only 69 runs lay the foundation for their humiliation.

This time it was an inept display in the field which embarrassed them as they conceded an extraordinary 46 extras.

Thomas Odoyo was Kenya’s most successful bowler with figures of three for 41 but he was also responsible for sending down 20 of the 37 wides bowled by Kenya.

That figure gave the Africans a share of an unwanted milestone, equalling the world record in a one-day international by West Indies against Pakistan at Brisbane in 1989.

Pakistan’s Akmal brothers Kamran and Umar, Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq all made contrasting half-centuries after they had got off to an unsteady beginning, stuttering to 12-2.

Their in-form opener Ahmed Shehzad was dismissed for one and his partner Mohammad Hafeez made nine before Pakistan were able to stage some kind of recovery.

Afridi was not too happy with either of his openers.

“That was not really a good start. I think in the next game they will change their batting style – it was easy to bat, especially early in the innings,’ he said.

“They took time but they did not deliver. I hope they will perform in the next game.”

Kamran Akmal and former captain Younus put together a stand of 98 to get the innings back on track.

Kamran scored a steady 55 off 67 balls with five fours and Younus 50 off the same number of balls, reaching the boundary only twice.

The innings was given its final momentum by Misbah-ul-Haq (65) and Umar Akmal (71) who added 118 for the fifth wicket off only 80 balls.


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