Afridi Helps Pakistan Avoid Upset, Top Cricket World Cup Group

Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi
Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi, center, celebrates with his teammates after he dismissed Canada's Jimmy Hansra during the Cricket World Cup Group A match in Colombo. Photographer: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images

Shahid Afridi took five wickets to help Pakistan avoid an upset loss to Canada and move top of its group at the Cricket World Cup. South Africa routed the Netherlands by 231 runs.

Afridi claimed 5-23 to end Canada’s run chase and lift his team to a 46-run win in Colombo yesterday. Pakistan was bowled out for 184 in 43 overs before hitting back with the ball to dismiss the Canadians for 138 in 42.5 overs.

“It’s a very good wake-up call for us for the next game,” Afridi said at the post-match presentation ceremony. “We are not going to repeat this batting performance again.”

Pakistan’s third straight victory took the 1992 champion atop Group A with the maximum six points from three games. The top four from two groups of seven teams advance to the quarterfinals of the 14-nation event.

Afridi’s haul gave him a tournament-leading 14 wickets and helped Pakistan avert defeat one day after England’s shock three-wicket loss to Ireland. Canada and Ireland rarely play against the sport’s elite Test-playing teams.

Umar Akmal top scored for Pakistan with 48 runs and Misbah-ul-Haq made 37. The Canadians reached 104-3 with 99 balls of their allotted 50 overs still remaining before losing their last seven wickets for 34 runs.

“Fighting is one thing but getting across that line is obviously taking it to another level,” said Canada captain Ashish Bagai. “We had a chance to show everybody what we’ve put in over the last few years but we fell short.”

Twin Centurions

Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers struck centuries to lead South Africa’s rout of the Netherlands in Group B.

Opener Amla hit 113 off 130 balls and de Villiers got 134 from 98 balls as South Africa totaled 351-5 in Mohali, India. Spinner Imran Tahir then took 3-19 as the Netherlands crumbled to 120 all out in its reply.

South Africa, which beat the West Indies by seven wickets in its opener, moves atop the group with four points from two games. The Netherlands remains in last place following its third straight loss.

In today’s matches, New Zealand and Zimbabwe play a Group A game in Ahmedabad, India, while Bangladesh takes on Group B rival West Indies in Dhaka.

The tournament, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, ends April 2.

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