Cricket: Afridi stars as Pakistan level T20 series

Afridi

Shahid Afridi's superb all-round performance helped Pakistan post an easy 23-run victory over Sri Lanka in the second and final Twenty20 international and level the series 1-1.

Hosts Sri Lanka were shot out for 99 as they collapsed, their lowest T20 total against Pakistan, after restricting the tourists to 122-6 in Hambantota.

Man-of-the-match Afridi was the star of Pakistan's victory in a low-scoring match, hammering a 33-ball 52 not out and then grabbing two wickets for 17 runs in his four disciplined overs.

Afridi, who becomes the first player to appear in 50 T20 internationals, hit one six and five fours in his fourth half-century. Pacemen Mohammad Sami and Yasir Arafat also impressed as they took three wickets apiece to keep pressure on Sri Lanka, who rested skipper Mahela Jayawardene and fast bowler Lasith Malinga.

Middle-order batsman Chamara Kapugedera top-scored with 19 in a dismal Sri Lankan batting display. Sri Lanka, who won the opening match by 37 runs on Friday, were 76-4 at one stage before losing their last six wickets for 23 runs.

Pakistan were earlier struggling at 41-4 before Afridi steadied the innings with a 68-run stand for the fifth wicket with Shoaib Malik, who hit three successive fours off leg-spinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi in his 26-ball 27.

Lokuarachchi bagged two of the first four wickets as Pakistan struggled, removing skipper Mohammad Hafeez (24) and Umar Akmal (five) in his four-over spell.

Paceman Nuwan Kulasekera was the most impressive bowler, finishing with 2-13 off four tight overs.

Sri Lanka brought in Isuru Udana and Kapugedera in place of Jayawardene and Malinga, while all-rounder Angelo Mathews led the side. Pakistan made one change, replacing Umar Gul with Arafat. Sri Lanka and Pakistan will now play a five-match one-day series, starting in Pallekele on Thursday.

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