Colombo: Shahid Afridi smashed the second fastest half-century in One-day Internationals for the second time as Pakistan crushed an inexperienced Netherlands by nine wickets in an inconsequential match of the Champions Trophy tournament on Saturday. The 22-year-old aggressive batsman hammered an 18-ball 55 to help his team surpass the Netherlands' modest total of 136 with 33.4 overs at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground. Sri Lanka has already qualified for the semi-finals from the three-team group after beating Pakistan and the Netherlands. It will take on Australia in the penultimate round on September 27. Afridi, who completed his fifty with a six, had also taken the same number of balls to reach his half-century against Sri Lanka at Nairobi in 1996. Australian Simon O'Donnell is the other batsman to score a half-century off 18 deliveries, against Sri Lanka at Sharjah in 1990. Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya holds the world record for the fastest half-century in One-day Internationals, having achieved the feat off just 17 balls against Pakistan at Singapore in 1996. Afridi struck six sixes, including four in off spinner Adeel Raja's over, and four boundaries to upstage opener Imran Nazir who contributed a 40-ball 59 with 11 fours. The Dutch, playing only their seventh One-day International, had the satisfaction of lasting the entire 50 overs after electing to bat against a strong team. Extras top-scored with 33 in the Dutch total as only skipper Roland Lefebvre (32 not out), Tim de Leede (24), Luuk van Troost (16) and Reinout Scholte (11) reached double-figures. The Netherlands did not have bowlers to put pressure on the seasoned Pakistani batsmen as Nazir went for big shots early in the innings, hitting seamer Edgar Schiferli for three fours in the opening over. There was no stopping the 20-year-old opener, who raced to his half-century off just 36 balls with nine boundaries before pulling medium-pacer Feiko Kloppenburg to Bas Zuiderent at mid-wicket. Earlier, Pakistani fast bowler Waqar Younis missed a hat-trick as Pakistan restricted their opponents. Younis dismissed Zuiderent and Henk-Jan Mol off successive deliveries in his fifth over before being denied a hat-trick by Troost with a defensive push to mid-off. Pakistan gained valuable practice ahead of their three-Test series against Australia as leg spinner Afridi (3-18) and Younis (2-14) struck it rich. The opening Test will be played here in the first week of October and the last two at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Leede, who has figured in all the seven One-day Internationals played by his team, made a 50-ball 24 with one six and two boundaries. The 34-year-old middle-order batsman played the shot of the innings, powerfully swinging Afridi over the roof of a mid-wicket stand for a six. Leede was involved in a 55-run stand for the fifth wicket with left-handed Troost after Younis had reduced the European team to 23-4.
Pakistan restricts Holland to 136 in inconsequential tie
'India has better chances of reaching semis'