Misbah, Younis half-centuries take Pakistan to 277 for 7

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Colombo, Feb 26 (PTI) Misbah-ul-Haq (unbeaten 83) andYounis Khan (72) hit half-centuries to guide Pakistan to acompetitive 277 for seven in their second World Cup leaguematch against Sri Lanka here today.

Younis and Misbah did the bulk of scoring by sharing 108runs for the fourth wicket after Pakistan elected to bat intheir Group A match at the Premadasa Stadium.

Opener Mohammed Hafeez and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmalcontributed 32 and 39 respectively.

Pakistan''s total, however, could not touch the 300-runmark as managed just 68 runs in the last 10 overs despitehaving seven wickets in hand after the 40th over.

Captain Shahid Afridi contributed 16 from 12 balls andwas out in the penultimate over.

Pakistan were off to a good start, scoring 65 in thefirst 10 overs though they lost the wicket of inexperiencedopener Ahmed Shehzad during that time.

Sri Lankan pacemen Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Pererawere expensive in their first spells of five overs each thoughthe latter removed Shehzad (13) in the sixth over with adelivery that moved away slightly after pitching outside offstump for Kumar Sangakkara to take the edge.

The other opener Mohammad Hafeez then creamed Kulasekarafor a six and a four in the next over before one-down KamranAkmal hit the same bowler for two fours in the same over.

Just as Pakistan were looking to take control of theirinnings, they lost their second wicket with Hafeez being runout following a horrible mix-up in the 14th over.

Hafeez swept a Muttiah Muralitharan delivery to shortfine leg and Kamran ran all the way to the other end withouthis seeing that his partner was unmoved from his crease.

Sangakkara''s throw went past Muralitharan who wasstanding at the non-striker''s end and Hafeez, who did not movean inch earlier, thought of running for a fleeting moment butreturned back to his crease. Muralitharan dislodged the bailand it was Hafeez who was ruled run out by the umpires.

Run-rate slowed down after the departure of two openersand Pakistan lost another wicket in the 21st over. Kamranunnecessarily charged down the track and missed a RanganaHerath delivery for Sangakkara to remove the bails in a flash.

Pakistan were 105 for three then.

The experienced duo of Younis and Misbah, however,ensured that no further wickets were lost while keeping thescoreboard ticking.

They shunned adventure and runs came mostly in singles byrotating the strike, denying the likes of Muralitharan anysuccess. More PTI RC PDS AT

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