Razzaq rounds on Sri Lanka
Troubled Pakistan brushed aside their off-field problems to beat Sri Lanka by four wickets in their opening ICC Champions Trophy match in Jaipur.
Missing pace bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif - sent home after testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone - and banned captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, they triumphed thanks to Abdul Razzaq’s all-round brilliance.
He claimed 4-50 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 253, then hit a crucial unbeaten 38 off just 24 balls, winning the match with 11 balls to spare courtesy of a straight six off Dilhara Fernando.
Shoaib Malik finished 46 not out, having taken a back seat to his partner during the latter stages.
Pakistan took 17 off the first two overs, from Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga, but a rapid start saw 39 brought up inside five overs, during which time Mohammad Hafeez edged Vaas behind for 22.
Mahela Jayawardene dropped Imran Farhat off Fernando at slip when the batsman had made 25, and he went on to make 54 - his fifth one-day half-century - before he was undone by Muttiah Muralitharan.
Younis Khan had departed by that stage, nicking Farveez Maharoof’s first ball to wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara.
Shahid Afridi threw his wicket away, charging Sanath Jayasuriya and finding only Upul Tharanga, while a further blunder accounted for Mohammed Yousuf just as he looked to be building a match-winning innings.
Having shared a fifth-wicket stand of 47 with Malik, Yousuf flicked Jayasuriya behind square and completed two runs. A misfield from Fernando persuaded Yousuf to attempt a third, but he was sent back by Malik and comfortably run out for 49 to leave his side 161 for five, requiring 93 off 15.5 overs.
Malik went on the offensive by launching Murali over long-on to take Pakistan past 200 in the 42nd over, but Vaas was brought back to replace Jayasuriya and Kamran Akmal (20) holed out to Maharoof at mid-wicket.
Vaas would have had another wicket if Tillekaratne Dilshan, at backward point, had clung on to a skewed drive from Razzaq, who made him pay with a clinical display of clean hitting.
Razzaq’s efforts with the ball were largely responsible for checking Sri Lanka’s momentum after they reached 108 for one.
Jayasuriya led Sri Lanka’s early assault with a quickfire 48 from 35 balls, which included two sixes, as he shared an opening stand of 63 in nine overs with Tharanga.
The left-hander fell to Iftikhar Anjum before Razzaq had Tharanga (38) caught behind by Akmal.
Malik picked up the wickets of Jayawardene (31) and Sangakkara (39) and, when Dilshan fell to Afridi, Sri Lanka were 186 for five with 16 overs remaining.
Marvan Atapattu’s dismissal - run-out as he attempted a quick single off a Razzaq no-ball - summed up Sri Lanka’s late-innings problems, although Maharoof’s 22 helped the score past 250.