Leher Reddy Challuri DP 1
Danushka Gunathilaka’s best efforts were not enough as Mohammad Amir, Fakhar Zaman, Abid Ali, and Haris Sohail helped Pakistan to a second victory against Sri Lanka in the final ODI of the Brighto Sri Lanka Tour of Pakistan 2019 ODI series in the National Stadium, Karachi.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Sri Lanka got off to a bad start despite a couple of boundaries as Avishka Fernando edged off to the slips for 4, pushing at a good length delivery. Gunathilaka, seemingly unphased by his partner’s departure, played with good intent, hitting wonderful shots, especially along the ground and got to his fifty in the process as well. Him and Lahiru Thirimanne, Sri Lanka’s captain, put together a settling 88-run partnership. Thirimanne departed in the 20th over, hitting the ball low and straight to the bowler for 36.
Gunathilaka continued playing aggressively, and began going arial too. He and Angelo Perera put together a 50-run partnership, but Perera contributed only 13 to it as he never really got going, eventually departing after chipping the ball to square leg in the 30th over. Things were looking good for Sri Lanka, however, who were only three down at 32 overs and had Gunathilaka reach a marvellous 2nd ODI ton at a runner ball. He was accompanied by Minod Bhanuka, who after a slow start, hit some big shots, sensing the urgency as the team got closer to the 40th over. The pair put together a 74-run partnership, which unfortunately ended in the 41st over as Bhanuka was run out for 36 due to a misunderstanding.
Soon after, Shehan Jayasuriya, in an attempt to hit the ball out of the park, lobbed the ball up in the air to deep midwicket for 3. Gunathilaka was hit on the ankle by a yorker during the last 10 overs, and could not get a move-on beyond a runner ball, eventually departing for 133 off 134 deliveries in the 45th over after being bowled by another yorker. Dasun Shanaka picked up from the previous game and played some big shots as Sri Lanka advanced towards 300. They were pegged back a little bit as Wanindu Hasaranga departed for 10 in the 49th over. In the same over, Lakshan Sandakan was run out for a first-ball duck. Shanaka also departed in the 50th over, but did his bit, scoring a cameo of 43 off 24 deliveries. Another wicket fell as Sri Lanka finished at 297-9, at a fairly good total.
Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, and Usman Shinwari, all picked up a wicket each. Riaz was expensive, however, going for 81 runs off 10 overs. The star of the bowling innings was Mohammad Amir, recording excellent figures of 3-50.
Pakistan got off to an excellent start thanks to Abid Ali, who drove the ball and clipped off his pads marvellously at a high strike rate, and got to his fifty off 37 balls. Fakhar Zaman took his time, but found his touch eventually, starting to get aggressive with a six and several boundaries after it. The two put together an opening stand worth 123 runs. It ended in the 20th over, with Abid dismissed by a wrong un that turned in sharply for 74 off 67 balls. Deemed not out at first, a review from the Lankans showed three reds, forcing the umpire to reverse his decision.
Soon after, Fakhar got to his half-century as well, albeit with a streaky shot that was sliced up in the air. Babar Azam starting his innings with good intent, hitting the ball along the ground and going arial, but was dismissed early for 31 in the 30th over, caught on the front pad. Again, he was deemed not out, but a review went Sri Lanka’s way as DRS showed the ball crashing into the top of the middle stump. In the very next over, Fakhar was dropped on 74 by the slip fielder, but fell in the next over, upper cutting a short delivery straight to third man for 76 off 91 balls. Haris Sohail started his innings aggressively as well, but could have been dismissed for 28 in the 39th over if the stumping opportunity was taken.
Sarfaraz Ahmed, Pakistan’s captain, started slowly and hit only one boundary before he chopped onto his stumps for 23 in the 42nd over. Sri Lanka had another chance to dismiss Sohail in the 44th over, but confusion between two fielders in the ring meant that the ball landed in no man’s land. He went on to a fifty, playing some marvellous shots along the way. Ifthikar Ahmed started well too, taking down the remaining runs quickly. Sohail was bowled in the 48th over for 56 off 50 deliveries, but this didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things as Ifthikar’s cameo of 28* off 22 balls ensured that Pakistan won the match and the series 2-0 comfortably.
The Sri Lankans put up a much better display with the bat, but their inability to pick up wickets or stem the run rate throughout the innings brought about their undoing. They have a chance to redeem themselves, however, with the first of 3 T20s coming up on the 5th of October. How will they respond? Will Pakistan dominate the series once again or will Sri Lanka be defiant? Join us on the Sreenidhian to find out!