Lanka lifts T20 Canada Cup

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Toronto, Oct 14 (UNI) The left-handed batsman Sanath Jayasuriya and the unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis guided Sri Lanka to defeat Pakistan to clich the inaugural T20 Canada Cup here.

Thousands of Pakistani supporters cheered as Salman Butt dispatched the first delivery from Farveez Mahroof for four after Mahela Jayawardene chose to field after winning the toss.

However, a hush fell over them when Dilhara Fernando bowled Shoaib Khan Jr from the other end for no score.

The crowd cheered again as Shahid Afridi walked in. The out-of-form Pakistani star started off cautiously. But he failed once again, caught by Jehan Mubarak on 14 while going for a bouncer by Thilan Thushara in the sixth over.

The next batsman, Younis Khan, too got out without scoring as he was run out by Weeraratne in the seventh over.

As captain Shoaib Malik and Butt played some long shots to post 64 for three at the half-way stage, the Sri Lankan skipper rotated his bowlers cleverly to check the dangerous Pakistani batsmen.

He succeeded in removing Malik in the 13th over when he was caught on long on by Jehan Mubarak off Mendis for 19, reducing Pakistan to 81 for four.

Mendis struck again when Butt tried to lift him over long on to be caught by Thushara for 44.

Fawad Alam, who joined Haq, also perished quickly, caught and bowled by Mahroof for two in the 18th over.

Misbah-ul-Haq and new batsman Kamran Akmal took the score past 130 when the latter was lured out by Mendis to be stumped by Dilshan for 12.

The Pakistani innings ended on 132 for seven, with Haq remaining unbeaten on 23 and Umar Gul on two.

Later, when Sri Lanka came to bat, Jayasuriya got his team off to a brilliant start to reach the 133-run target, with five wickets and an over to spare in front of a boisterous crowd of 9000. Jayasuriya and Mahela Udawatte put on a match-altering 66 in seven overs, though they were indebted to a predictably wayward start from Pakistan's trio of fast bowlers, Shoaib, Sohail Tanvir and, chief culprit of all, Umar Gul.

Jayasuriya shot out of the traps and never allowed Shoaib to settle. Flicking him for four in his first over, he then pulled him for consecutive sixes into the midwicket stand, the second of which went AWOL.

Udawatte was no less aggressive, but such was Gul's persistent short length that he spent most of his time on the back foot. A hook for six was followed by a flayed cut for four, and a slice past point scorched the outfield. Sri Lanka's fifty came up inside five overs.

So, it was to spin that Pakistan turned and it brought immediate results when Shahid Afridi - who earlier managed only 14 with the bat - beat Udawatte in flight and had him caught at long-off.

Afridi's partner at the other end, Shoaib Malik, then bowled Jayasuriya, and followed it up with the prized wicket of Mahela Jayawardene - both batsmen fell attempting the sweep. They made it five when Kaushalya Weeraratne was bowled in Gul's second spell, but it was all too little, too late, and Chamara Kapugedera's calm 17 guided Sri Lanka to their first win over Pakistan in Twenty20 internationals.

That Sri Lanka were allowed to chase such an attainable target was thanks to their own spin-attack, namely Mendis.

Brief score: Pakistan: 132/7 in 20 overs (Butt 44, Mendis 3-23) Sri Lanka: 133/5 in 19 overs (Jayasuriya 40, Malik 2-17) Result: Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets (with 6 balls remaining) UNI XC CS RSA PM1206

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