Mohammed Rizwan and Abduhllah Shine with both securing Centuries agaisnt Sri Lanka in the ICC Cricket World Cup at Hyderabad.
Pakistan Dominate Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka were served a harsh lesson in the realities of modern ODI cricket, as Pakistan hunted down a target of 345 – the highest-ever chase in a World Cup – with six wickets to spare. Leading their charge were tons from Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan, which trumped a pair of centuries by Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama, to make it two wins from two for Pakistan.
Even so, between overs 10-20 the pair took 62 runs, before really upping the ante through the middle period. From the overs 20-30 they would score a further 72 runs and then would plunder 99 from the 30th to the 40th, leaving a very gettable 74 off the last 60 deliveries.
Shafique’s control percentage of 91% told a story, as he rarely gave the Sri Lankan bowlers a sniff, pouncing on anything short and unafraid to use his feet when necessary. It would take an absolute scorcher at backward point by substitute Dushan Hemantha, in for Kusal Mendis who was off the field with severe cramps, to get rid of him. Fortunately for Pakistan though, they had a warrior in Rizwan at the other end to ensure the chase would be completed without hiccups.
Sri Lanka will look back towards this Loss Against Pakistan
Sri Lanka though will rue a missed opportunity to put the game to bed with the bat, with Shanaka admitting after the game that they were probably 30 runs short. Indeed, having won the toss and elected to bat first, for much of the Sri Lankan innings this seemed like the batting performance that Sri Lanka had long threatened to put together.
Against both Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the warm-ups they had thrown away promising starts, while against South Africa they had provided glimpses of what their batting line-up was capable of. The next step though was putting it altogether, and for large parts of their innings, it looked Sri Lanka would finally do just that.
With both Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali bowling consistently in the low 130s or lower, any early swing – something Mendis has been found wanting against in the past – was negotiated with relative ease.
Across his time at the crease, scarcely an over went by without a boundary. In fact, from the point he arrived midway through the second over, and until his dismissal in the 29th, only six overs went without at least a boundary being scored.
Of the bowlers, only Iftikhar Ahmed managed any kind of success against Mendis, going for six runs in eight deliveries, but Mendis struck at above 140 against all five of the other bowlers utilised.
Alongside him, Samarawickrama was carrying along like he has for much of the year since breaking into the Sri Lankan side. He nudged around ones and twos, used his feet to the spinners – an inside-out drive off Nawaz for six, particularly standing out in the memory – and worked the gaps expertly to find boundaries when needed.
Sri-Lankan’s Mendis and Samarawickarama weren’t enough for Pakistan
Samarawickrama and Mendis together put up 111 off just 69 deliveries, the second consecutive century stand of the innings following Mendis’ 102 with Pathum Nissanka. When Mendis fell, with the score on 218 with just 29 overs bowled, Sri Lanka would have been eyeing 350 at the very least, but once more those plans would go away.
Charith Asalanka, who had kept Sri Lanka in the game against South Africa, nicked one through just eight balls later. This was then followed by a five-over period in which just 18 runs were scored which stifled their momentum; overs 30-40 would bring 54 runs in total.
But where Pakistan would do the real damage was in the final 10, where Sri Lanka managed just 61 runs, including the last three overs which went for just 13.
It’s a credit to the efficiency at which Samarawickrama and Mendis had batted throughout those middle overs that they still got to 344 – their highest against a Full Member nation since 2020 – but those are the margins at play here, something Sri Lanka will have to address swiftly if they are to keep their already slim semi-final hopes alive.