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Cricket | ICC World Cup

Shahid Afridi © Gallo Images

Five-star Afridi seals big win

Skipper Shahid Afridi ran through the Kenyan middle order, to propel his side to a 205-run cake-walk in their World Cup opener at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota on Wednesday.

Afridi ended with figures of five for 16 in eight overs, as Kenya struggled with his assortment of leggies, googlies and arm balls.

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Pakistan had earlier cracked on the gas in their final ten overs, as they amassed 317 for seven.

A total of 112 runs were scored off the final ten overs, as Kenya were made to suffer for the second time in as many matches at this World Cup.

Half-centuries by the Akmal brothers, Kamran (55) and Umar (71 off 52 balls), Younis Khan (50) and Misbah ul-Haq (65) saw the unpredicatable former champions breach 300, despite a pedestrian start.

Openers Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad had days to forget, as they took nearly four overs to register the first boundary.

Once they departed, leaving Pakistan at a worrying 12 for two, things got significantly better for the former world champions.

Umar Akmal provided the sting in the tail, but there were noteworthy addition by others as Pakistan showed they will be no pushovers.


The bowling display was equally encouraging, with Shoaib Akhtar showing good pace and hostility. Umar Akmal ran out Seren Waters for the first wicket, before Umar Gul had Maurice Ouma caught behind.

Gul was his usual, metronomic self, but it was Afridi who stole the show.

His devilish top-spinners accounted for the experienced Steve Tikolo, who was bowled by a clever change of pace. Tinmay Mishra, Jimmy Kamande and Thomas Odoyo were all trapped in front, as Afridi ran through the order.

Collins Obuya stood firm amidst the carnage, clubbing some memorable strokes, including three sixes. His 47 showed Kenya what could have been done with greated application, but his teammates capitulated badly for the second match in the tournament.

Afridi’s side will take heart from the clinical performance, though they may be slightly worried about the very slow start provided by batsmen Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad.

That aside, though, the 205-run demolition job was exactly the start needed by a side that has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late.

"It was a good start but I think the next game (against Sri Lanka) is very important for us. I think it will become harder. I think we learned a lot of things from here," Afridi said.

Kenyan skipper James Kamande admitted his side had under-performed.

"We've given away a lot of extras. I think maybe the guys are trying hard because every time we got a wicket we gave a few runs here and there and that should not be the case."


Kenya: Seren Waters, Maurice Ouma (wk), Collins Obuya, Steve Tikolo, Tanmay Mishra, Rakep Patel, Jimmy Kamande (capt), Thomas Odoyo, Nehemieah Odhiambo, Shem Ngoche and Elijah Otieno.

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal (wk), Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi (capt), Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar and Abdur Rehman.


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