HAMBANTOTA, February 23- Shahid Afridi took five wickets and Umar Akmal scored one of four half-centuries as Pakistan crushed Kenya by 205 runs to get their World Cup campaign off to a flying start on Wednesday.
Hapless Kenya found their opponents too hot to handle after Umar hit a 52-ball 71 to anchor Pakistan’s challenging total of 317-7 before they bundled out their rivals for just 112 in 33.1 overs.
Once Pakistan introduced spin, Kenyan wickets fell quickly with Afridi unplayable in the day-night match at Mahinda Rajapakse stadium.
Only Collins Obuya, with 47, and three other batsmen managed to reach double figures as Kenya — bowled out for a paltry 69 in their first match against New Zealand on Sunday — faltered again.
Pakistan headed for a 300-plus total thanks to Umar Akmal (71), Misbah-ul-Haq (65), Kamran Akmal (55) and Younis Khan (50) as four batsmen scored half-centuries for the ninth time in a World Cup match.
Man of the match Umar, 21, playing his first World Cup tie, gave the innings a final flourish, sharing a rapid 118-run stand for the fifth wicket with in-form Haq who was equally aggressive during his 69-ball stay.
With Umar and Haq in full swing, Pakistan racked up 70 runs in the batting powerplay, with the junior Akmal hitting four boundaries off one Elijah Otieno over.
Haq, Pakistan’s best batsman in the recent Test and one-day series in New Zealand, also added 45 for the fourth wicket with Khan before giving impetus to the innings with Umar to help Pakistan put up an impressive total.
Haq, whose first scoring shot was a six, hit one more six and a single boundary, while Umar notched eight boundaries and a six before holing out off Thomos Odoyo who finished with 3-41.
Odoyo conceded 20 wides in an embarrassing team total of 46 extras.
Kenya equalled the highest number of wides bowled in a one-day innings of 37 conceded by the West Indies against Pakistan at Brisbane in 1989.
Pakistan had been sluggish at the start with openers Mohammad Hafeez (nine) and Ahmed Shahzad (one) falling in quick succession, leaving their team struggling at 12-2.
Hafeez was the first to go, failing to keep a drive down as a diving Seren Waters picked up a beautiful catch at short mid-wicket.
Two overs later, Shahzad, who scored his first run after 13 deliveries, was caught by skipper Jimmy Kamande off Odoyo.
Khan and Kamran revived the innings through a solid 98-run stand for the third wicket, pushing for singles off some tight bowling.
Pakistan next take on Sri Lanka, winners against Canada in their first match, on Saturday. Kenya meet Sri Lanka on March 1 with both matches in Colombo.