Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad was the battleground for an all-Asian World Cup affair. The Pakistani brushed off a few nervy moments to see off Netherlands in the first match. Sri Lankan batters had a good time out in the middle, but South African batters eclipsed them. The Lankan will look to bounce back against a spirited Pakistani eyeing the most prestigious trophy in cricket. It will be a tough test for the Sri Lankan youthful batting line-up against the Pakistani quick bowlers.
Pakistan left out their out-of-form opener Fakhar Zaman and replaced him with Abdullah Shafique. Sri Lanka welcomed their spin sensation Maheesh Theekshana back in the place of pacer Kasun Rajitha.
- Abdullah Shafique 2. Imam-Ul-Haq 3. Babar Azam (Cap.) 4. Mohammad Rizwan (WK) 5. Saud Shakeel 6. Iftikhar Ahmed 7. Shadab Khan 8. Mohammad Nawaz 9. Hassan Ali 10. Shaheen Afridi 11. Haris Rauf
- Pathum Nissanka 2. Kusal Perera 3. Kusal Mendis 4. Sadeera Samarawickrama 5. Charith Asalanka 6. Dhananjaya de Silva 7. Dasun Shanaka 8. Dunith Wellalage 9. Mahesh Theekshana 10. Matheesha Pathirana 11. Dilshan Madushanka
Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka won the toss and chose to bat first on a good Hyderabad pitch.
|Venue||The 8th game of the 2023 World Cup was played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, Telangana.|
|Date||The game started from 02:00 pm IST on Tuesday, October 10|
Captaincy & Tactics
Sri Lanka’s decision of batting first was proving to be the right one in the early part of their innings. Babar Azam looked helpless in the face of Mendis’ onslaught. But the Pakistani bowlers turned the tide to a certain extent by varying their pace. It was a flat surface and the ball was coming to the bat nicely.
Sri Lanka took two early wickets to put Pakistan under immense pressure. But Rizwan and Shafique were patient and they preferred spending some time out in the middle to hitting the ball immediately. They were especially effective on the back foot and formed a match-winning stand.
Kusal Mendis put on a partnership of 111 from just 69 deliveries. Mendis has already scored 198 runs at a strike rate of 166.38 at this World Cup. All of the Pakistani bowlers were put to the sword as Mendis was striking at above 140 from all of them, except Iftikhar Ahmed who just gave away 6 runs from 8 balls. Sri Lanka were at the score of 218/3 after Mendis got dismissed on the 29th over. Sri Lanka looked to be well on course for a 350+ score.
Charith Asalanka fell soon after with an edge to the keeper, Sri Lanka managed to score only 18 runs over a 5-over period. Between 31-40 overs, the Lankan Lions only managed to score 56 runs. Dhananjaya de Silva was sluggish and neither managed to score boundaries nor rotate the strike.
Mohammad Nawaz put an end to his miserable stay at the crease – 25 runs from 34 deliveries. Shanaka also struggled to score runs quickly: The Lankan captain only managed 12 from 18 deliveries as Pakistani pace bowlers put their side back in the game. The last 10 overs only yielded 61 runs.
Pakistan was given a 5% chance of winning after Imam and Babar got out in the early exchanges of the innings. Sri Lanka managed to restrict the Pakistanis to a score of 48/2 after the first ten overs. Rizwan and Abdullah Shafique were cautious and kept chipping away with 62 runs scored in the 11-20 over period. Then they changed gears to put 72 runs between 21-30 overs and scored 99 from 31-40 overs to cut down the target to 74 off 60.
The pair added 176 from 156 deliveries to keep Pakistan firmly in the game. Abdullah Shafique batted with a staggering 91% control over his shots. The 23-year-old batter was exceptional at back foot and punished anything short by using his feet. Rizwan also used the pull shot to maximum effect by scoring 36 runs from this particular stroke. He put on a 95-run stand with Saud Shakeel and then a 23-ball 37 with Iftikhar Ahmed to run away with the game.
Hassan Ali was selected to replace rising speedster Naseem Shah in the Pakistani team. The fast bowler justified his inclusion by picking up a five-wicket haul. The 29-year-old bowler likes to bowl against Sri Lanka, he has picked up 21 wickets so far, averaging only 12.95. Haris Rauf’s express pace earned him 2 scalps.
Shaheen Afridi had one wicket to his name but conceded 66 from 9 overs. The form of the regular spinners will concern Pakistani think tanks. In their combined 17 overs, Shadab-Nawaz gave away 115 runs, picking a wicket apiece. Iftikhar Ahmed performed his role as a 6th bowler well, his economy rate of 5.50 runs is impressive in a high-scoring game.
Matheesha Pathirana is having a World Cup campaign to forget with the ball. The slinging 20-year-old has cost his team 185 runs in two games, averaging 92.50 with an economy rate of 9.73. Theekshana’s return to the squad could not fix the bowling, the Lankan bowlers struggled to pick up wickets during the middle overs once again.
Theekshana bowled well himself, he restricted the Pakistani batters with his variation and picked up the wicket of Saud Shakeel. The mysterious bowler conceded 59 from his 10 overs.
Shanaka was hitting the right lengths and taking the pace off the ball. Wellalage failed to pick any wicket, but was impressive at times, he conceded 62 from his 10. Madushanka picked up two in his first spell to put Sri Lanka ahead in the contest, but his teammates let him down.
Pakistan was sloppy in the field with Imam-Ul-Haq dropping an easy catch at point. Shadab Can was in his ever-brilliant mode, but the other fielders could not help the bowlers as the Lankans piled on the pressure.
Mohammad Rizwan gave away two half chances on his way to the match-deciding innings. It was an ordinary fielding effort from Sri Lanka who couldn’t stop the flow of runs with some lackluster ground fielding.
Kusal Mendis scored a blistering knock of 122 by tormenting the Pakistani bowlers. Sadeera Samarawickrama let the bat do the talking with a brilliant ton on the World Cup debut. Hassan Ali was expensive, but his 4 wicket haul proved crucial in the grand scheme of things.
Abdullah Shafique matched Samarawickrama’s feat by scoring a magnificent century in his first game on the big stage. Mohammad Rizwan was handicapped by several cramps but battled on to score a match-winning knock of 131 unbeaten. Dilshan Madushanka was the sole shining light by picking up 2 wickets on a dreary day for the Sri Lankan bowlers.
Pakistan was reeling at 37/2 in their pursuit of a massive target. But the dynamic duo of Rizwan and World Cup debutant Abdullah Shafique built a partnership with grit and aggression. They put on 176 runs together to take the game away from the Lankans.
Pakistan won the match by 6 wickets with 8 balls to spare and smashed multiple records on the way.
Player of the Match
Mohammad Rizwan was chosen as the best player of the match for his dauntless innings of 131 not out.
|Sri Lanka Total: 344/9 (50 overs)||Pakistan Total: 345/4 (48.4 overs)|
|Kusal Mendis 122 (77)||Mohammad Rizwan 131* (121)|
|Sadeera Samarawickrama 108 (89)||Abdullah Shafique 113 (103)|
|Hassan Ali 4/71||Dilshan Madhushanka 2/60|
|Haris Rauf 2/64||Mahesh Theekshana 1/59|
It was a thrilling scoring game full of twists and turns. There were four centuries equally shared between the two teams who played the game with passion and aggression. Pakistan emerged victorious to secure their second victory of the tournament. The form of the bowlers will worry the Lankans after another dismal display with the ball.