All-round performance from Hafeez powers Pakistan to win
Pakistan 259-4 (Hafeez 103) beat
Sri Lanka 255-8 (Chandimal 65 no) by six wickets
First One-Day International, Dambulla
Mohammad Hafeez turned in a stunning all-round performance to help Pakistan win the first One-Day International against Sri Lanka in Dambulla with relative ease by six wickets chasing down 255 in under 46 overs.
Pakistan won the toss and opted to bowl first. Mohammad Irfan (0-41), back in the team, got Tillakaratne Dilshan (38) in the third over only for the umpire to call it a no ball.
It was Hafeez (4-41) who got the first breakthrough with the wicket of Kusal Perera (26) ending the 44-run opening stand.
Dilshan was abnormally slow in his 65-ball knock adding another 38 for the second wicket with Lahiru Thirimanne (23).
Sri Lanka attacked Yasir Shah (1-46) in the 16th over, reaching 81 for one only for Anwar Ali (1-38) to get Thirimanne’s wicket, trying to drive and nicking to the wicket-keeper.
Sri Lanka reached 100 for two after 21 overs but Upul Tharanga (20) was stumped soon off the bowling of Hafeez.
The home team were in trouble at 118 for four in the 27th over when Dilshan’s defence was breached by Hafeez.
Dinesh Chandimal (65 not out) and Angelo Mathews (38) salvaged the innings taking Sri Lanka to 192 for four after 40 overs.
However, Yasir ended the 82-run partnership when Mathews top edged to long-on.
Thisara Perera (1) was out off the last ball of Hafeez’s spell. Rahat Ali (2-44) bowled a brilliant penultimate over giving away just four runs and taking two wickets.
Sri Lanka didn’t get the big over towards the death and only managed 255 for eight after 50 overs.
Pakistan started the chase very confidently with seven fours in the first nine overs moving to 47 for no loss.
However, Mathews (1-22) ended the partnership just before the end of the power-play getting Azhar Ali (21) to under-edge one to wicket-keeper Chandimal who took a stunning catch.
The other opener Ahmed Shehzad (29) followed suit as well with Suranga Lakmal (1-21) taking his wicket.
However, Babar Azam (25) added 58 for the third wicket with Hafeez to make sure the innings was consolidated.
Pakistan were right up with the required run rate when Azam was trapped lbw by Dilshan (1-45), reaching 123 for three in the 26th over.
The Pakistan all-rounder brought up his fifty in 58 balls in style hammering a six off Seekkuge Prasanna (0-72) who had a particularly bad day with the ball.
Hafeez smashed Prasanna in the next over as well for two consecutive sixes to take Pakistan to 149 for three after 29 overs.
He raced away to his century from then on, scoring his last 56 runs in just 40 balls. He brought up his 10th ODI hundred with a four but was out caught and bowled by Perera (1-32) soon later ending a 75-run partnership with Shoaib Malik (55 not out).
Malik himself continued his fine international comeback with another half-century adding an unbeaten 61 runs for the fifth wicket with Mohammad Rizwan (20 not out) as Pakistan romped home with 28 balls to spare.
Amongst the Sri Lankan bowlers, Lakmal, Perera and Mathews were all tight but Lasith Malinga (0-56) had an off day. Pakistan now lead the five match series 1-0.
© Cricket World 2015