Shoaib and Younis lead Pakistan to victory

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JOHANNESBURG, Sep 18 (Reuters) Captain Shoaib Malik and former skipper Younis Khan shared Pakistan's first international Twenty20 century partnership and laid the foundation for a comfortable victory over Sri Lanka in the World Cup.

Shoaib and Younis struck 101 runs off the 58 balls they shared to propel Pakistan to a total of 189 for six. Sri Lanka made 156 for nine in reply, which gave Pakistan victory by 33 runs in their Super Eights group clash yesterday.

Sri Lanka, who had beaten New Zealand by seven wickets on Saturday, lost their first two wickets for just five runs and were never really in the hunt. Leg-spinner Shahid Afridi took the bowling honours for Pakistan with three wickets for 18.

Sri Lanka, who won the toss and bowled first, claimed three early wickets but Shoaib and Younis then ripped into the bowling.

They were particularly severe on left-arm spinner Sanath Jayasuriya, taking 46 runs off his first three overs.

Shoaib finished on 57, Pakistan's highest Twenty20 score, surpassing the 53 struck by Misbah ul-Haq in the team's previous match against India.

Shoaib reached his half-century in just 27 balls, beating the 33 deliveries needed by Misbah.

Younis slammed his 51 off 35 balls, with three sixes.

Lasith Malinga claimed the wickets of both Younis and Shoaib in a tally of three for 43 but the damage had been done.

Jayasuriya, hit by Misbah for two sixes over long-off in the final over of the Pakistan innings, conceded a total of 64 runs, equalling the most expensive Twenty20 bowling tally recorded by England paceman James Anderson against Australia in Sydney earlier this year.

Mohammad Asif removed Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga for nought and fellow paceman Sohail Tanvir bowled Jayasuriya with only five runs on the board.

Tillekeratne Dilshan hit four late sixes in an innings of 38 which allowed Sri Lanka to narrow the margin of defeat.

Pakistan play Australia in Johannesburg tomorrow, with the winners almost certain of a semi-final place. Australia beat Bangladesh by nine wickets in their first Super Eights match yesterday.

Sri Lanka go into their match against Bangladesh at the same venue after the Australia-Pakistan clash needing to win to keep their hopes alive.

REUTERS TB RN1010

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