Captain Afridi saves Pakistan from Canada

Sri Dharanee Performance Arts Theatre

NEW DELHI, March 3, 2011 (AFP) – Captain Shahid Afridi saved Pakistan from following England into the World Cup dunces corner with a nerveless display of leg-spin to shatter Canada’s hopes of a famous triumph on Thursday. Just a day after Ireland had clinched a record-breaking win over England, Canada were dreaming of a similar sensational upset when they bowled out the 1992 champions for a paltry 184 in Colombo.

But Canada, who had already suffered a 210-run loss to Sri Lanka and a 175-run defeat to Zimbabwe, were undone by Afridi’s one-man show.

The 31-year-old skipper claimed 5-23 to help dismiss Canada for 138 and seal a 46-run victory which put Pakistan back on top of Group A and with one foot in the quarter-finals with a third win in three matches.

Canada had been well placed at 104-3 before Afridi sent back Rizwan Cheema, Jimmy Hansra, Harvir Baidwan and Tyson Gordon in rapid succession. The Pakistan captain took his tournament tally to 14 wickets, becoming the first player to claim three successive four-wicket hauls in World Cup history.

For good measure, he then ran out Balaji Rao to leave Canada on 134-9 before Wahab Riaz finished things off by destroying Henry Osinde’s stumps.

Umar Akma