Centuries by Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan guided Pakistan to its second consecutive win when it defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in the ODI World Cup league match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Wednesday.
Shafique, who became the first Pakistani batter to score a century on World Cup debut, and Rizwan’s 131 while battling repeated cramps overshadowed Sri Lanka’s twin centurions, Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama.
Pakistan, chasing a record target of 345 in World Cup match, came back strongly after losing opener Imam-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam by eighth over thanks to the way Shafique, who replaced Fakhar Zaman today, and Rizwan paced the innings during their 176-run stand for the third wicket off 156 balls.
It also reflected yet another dismal show by the Sri Lankan bowlers including Matheesha Pathirana being hit all over, conceding 90 runs for the second time in this tournament.
Earlier, when Mendis and Samarawickrama scored centuries on a perfect batting track, it was the first instance of two batters scoring centuries in the same innings of an ODI at this venue.
Mendis, dropped on 18 by Imam-ul-Haq at backward point of pacer Shaheen Afridi in the seventh over of the innings, made Pakistan pay a heavy price, displaying a superb blend of big hits and delectable strokes – against both pace and spin.
Nissanka and Mendis put on 102 runs off 93 balls for the second wicket before the former cut leg-spinner Shadab Khan straight to the fielder in the 18th over.
Later, Mendis, who reached his century in style with a massive six off pacer Hasan Ali, and Sadeera Samarawickrama put on 111 runs for the third wicket off 69 balls, making the Pakistani bowling look ordinary.
Mendis finally departed, after hitting two consecutive sixes off Hasan Ali, to be smartly caught by Imam-ul-Haq, making amends, near the mid-wicket boundary in the 29th over.
However, it was quality death bowling by Pakistan with Hasan Ali completing a four-wicket haul which saw Sri Lanka restricted to 344 for nine after being 315 for three in 45 overs. This effort proved to be decisive in the final analysis.
The match also saw the third instance of centuries by two batters from each side in one game in ODI history.
/ 3 years ago
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