Hambantota (Sri Lanka), Feb 23 (IANS) Captain Shahid Afridi took five wickets as Pakistan crushed Kenya by 205 runs in a World Cup Group A match at the Mahinda Rajapakse International Cricket Stadium here Wednesday.
A strong show by Pakistan’s middle-order saw them put up 317/7 in 50 overs after electing to bat. Umar Akmal smashed a 52-ball 71 while Misbah-ul-Haq hit a 69-ball 65. Umar’s elder brother, Kamran, made 55 while senior batsman Younis Khan made 50.
Kenya began their chase cautiously, having been bowled out for 69 in their first match against New Zealand. Openers Maurice Ouma and Seren Waters batted for 9.1 overs with only 37 runs on the board. But then they started losing wickets.
Collins Obuya was the only batsman to take the fight to the opposition camp as he blasted three sixes and three fours in his 58-ball 47. Veteran Steve Tikolo added 13, but once Afridi (5-16) took the ball in his hand, he ran through the Kenyan innings in a jiffy. Kenya were finally bowled out for 112 in 33.1 overs.
They lost eight wickets for the addition of just 40 runs. None of the last six batsmen reached double digits with four of them being dismissed for a duck.
Kenya has caused quite a few upsets in previous World Cups and also reached the semifinals in 2003, but have been disappointing in this edition.
Afridi was effective with his leg spin. He got good purchase from the wicket and exploited the conditions to the hilt. Umar Gul was the other successful bowler, taking two wickets.
Earlier, Pakistan made a slow start on a placid track and openers Mohammad Hafeez (1) and Ahmed Shahzad (9) departed in 6.5 overs with just 12 runs on the board.
Younis and Kamran revived the innings through a solid 98-run stand for the third wicket, pushing for singles off some tight bowling.
After Younis, Kamran and Misbah laid the foundation for the innings and stylish Umar smacked eight fours and one six to give a late thrust to the score.
On their part, Kenya lost the plot work with some erratic bowling, conceding 46 extras, including 37 wides.