Pakistan drub Sri Lanka again to win series
Pakistan 257-3 (Shehzad 95) beat
Sri Lanka 256-9 (Thirimanne 90) by seven wickets
Fourth One-Day International, Colombo
Ahmed Shehzad played a classy knock at the top to help Pakistan chase down 256 against Sri Lanka in the fourth One-Day International in Colombo with ease, winning by seven wickets with 55 balls to spare.
Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first. It was a bad start for them when Kusal Perera (0) handed a simple catch to cover off the second ball of the innings.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (50) got going with consecutive fours in the second over. Sri Lanka ended the powerplay on 48 for one after 10 overs and a steady 109-run second-wicket partnership gave them a solid base.
Dilshan brought up his 44th ODI half-century in the 22nd over in 58 balls but was out the next over, missing an arm ball from Imad Wasim (1-43).
In the same over, Lahiru Thirimanne (90) brought up his half-century, albeit in 73 deliveries.
However, Sri Lanka started losing their way when Rahat Ali (1-39) got rid of skipper Angelo Mathews (12) in the 31st over with an off-cutter that was mistimed to mid-off.
Mohammad Irfan (3-50), brought into the attack, ended Dinesh Chandimal’s (20) cameo very early as Sri Lanka slipped to 170 for four after 36 overs.
Thirimanne was dropped on 85 by Shehzad, who went on to claim the catch even after the ball popped out of his hand, hit the turf and was caught by him again.
Sri Lanka were 181 for four after 40 overs, never managing to accelerate after the solid start early on.
Thirimanne missed out on his century, slog sweeping one to deep square leg where Shehzad took a good catch off the bowling of Yasir Shah (1-50).
Sri Lanka managed 75 runs in the last 10 overs but with the start they had, would have expected to have scored a lot more.
Most of the lower-order batsmen played cameos but none went on to get too many runs as Sri Lanka posted a total of 256 for nine in their 50 overs.
Irfan was the pick of the bowlers while Wasim was the most economical.
Pakistan began the chase brilliantly and the hallmark of the chase was the absence of any hiccups at any time.
Azhar Ali (33) continued his purple patch as he, along with Shehzad (95), hammered Lasith Malinga (1-46) for 14 runs in the third over.
Ali then struck consecutive fours off Suranga Lakmal (1-50) in the next over as well before Shehzad joined in the act with three fours off Sachith Pathirana (0-81) who had a nightmarish game with one of the most expensive ODI bowling returns ever.
Pakistan managed 69 for no loss after 10 overs. However, Ali struck one down the throat of deep third man off Malinga in the 12th over.
Shehzad was returned the favour by Thirimanne, as the latter dropped a catch in the 14th over at first slip. That drop also cost Malinga four runs bringing up Shehzad’s half-century in just 46 balls.
Mohammad Hafeez (70) hammered Pathirana for a four in the 23rd over to bring up the fifty-run partnership as well.
Hafeez, playing aggressive cricket later in the innings, brought up his half-century in the 30th over taking Pakistan to 186 for one. The duo added 115 for the second wicket in 20 overs.
Shehzad, who looked set for a century fell five runs short as he was caught splendidly on the third man boundary by Kusal.
Soon after, Milinda Siriwardana (1-28) picked up Hafeez as Pakistan dropped to 213 for three in the 37th over.
However, there was no last-minute drama as Shoaib Malik (29 not out) and Sarfraz Ahmed (17 not out) scored the remaining runs with ease with a 44-run partnership in just 28 balls.
Malik hammered four sixes in 16 balls even though he was dropped once.
Pakistan roared to a thumping victory scoring 257 in just 40.5 overs and moving into an unassailable 3-1 series lead with a game to play. Shehzad was named as the player of the match.
© Cricket World 2015