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Asia XI level series with 17-run victory

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Last updated on: August 21, 2005 00:09 IST


Zaheer Khan was the most successful bowler with three wickets as the Asian XI held their nerve to score out a 17-run victory over Africa XI in the second second of three Afro-Asia Cup matches on Saturday in Durban.

A total of 267 for seven was always going to be an uphill task for the hosts, but with the Indian seamers giving them the early advantage, Africa XI finished at 250 from 49.2 overs.

Sri Lankans Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene scored half centuries as Asia scored a competitive 267 for seven after batting first against Africa XI.

Sangakkara also won the man of the match award for the effort.

The series is tied at 1-1.

After a stumbling start, the African innings was propped up by Justin Kemp (38) and Steve Tikolo (43), who took the attack to the Asian bowlers in face of certain defeat.

Kemp kept runs ticking at one end while Tikolo scored at run-a-ball with the help of six boundaries and one six.

Towards the end the Asian fielders dropped three sitters as Africa XI were allowed to stretch the game into the last over.

Mutthiah Muralitharan, who was leading the side in place of Inzamam-ul-Haq, managed to get only one wicket, while Shoaib, opening the attack, grabbed two wickets.

Sangakkara, who scored 35 in Asia's two-run loss in the first game on Wednesday, top scored with a hard-hitting 61 from only 70 balls while Jayawardene was more sedate, accumulating 52 from 72 balls with just one four and one six.

The innings began in bizarre fashion with the normally aggressive Virender Sehwag playing out a maiden from Shaun Pollock before opening partner Shahid Afridi struck the first ball of the next over, bowled by Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak, for a mighty six over extra cover.

Afridi was then trapped lbw off the next delivery before Kenyan seamer Thomas Odoyo then had both Sehwag (38) and Sangakkara caught behing by wicket keeper Mark Boucher to undermine what had become a threatening top order platform.

Odoyo, who was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 45, collected his third wicket when Boucher completed a fine stumping to dismiss Jayawardene.

Asian captain Inzamam-ul-Haq began his innings by running out countryman Abdul Razzaq for a duck, injured a hamstring in playing a hook shot and finished, with a runner, unbeaten on 32 from 31 deliveries.

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