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With great counter attack:

Maqsood, Alam take game away from Lanka with a four wicket-win

Hambantota, Aug. 23 - After a really stunning game of cricket, Pakistan pulled off a thrilling four-wicket win over Sri Lanka with a ball to spare in the rain shortened 45-over first One Day International match at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium, Hambantota today.

Sri Lankas captain Angelo Mathews celebrates his half century

Two Pakistani batsmen Sohaib Maqsood and Fawad Alam took the game away from Sri Lanka with a superb counter attack under pressure. The left-hand right-hand pair which joined at 106-5 in 22.3 overs, put on a record breaking 147-run partnership for the sixth wicket, after Imran Khan involved stand in 1981.

One Day International specialist, 27-year-old Maqsood played a steller role, the highest score of the right hander. Maqsood played an unbeaten 89 off 73 balls with nine solid fours. Fawad Alam, continued his brisk form against Sri Lanka after he last made an unfinished 114 in the Asia Cup final in March.

Though Alam’s century was unable to guide his side towards victory in Asia Cup final, the youngster had done enough for Pakistan for an unstoppable win when he was caught off Malinga for 62 from 61 balls at the end of 42nd over .

When Shahid Afridi walked in Pakistan needed 22 runs in the last 18 balls. The visitors chased the target in style with a Afridi’s brilliant punched for four through point after Kulasekara bowled two successive dot balls in third and fourth ball of the last over. Pakistan made a rapid 110 runs in the last 11 overs, reaping full advantage on the good wicket in Hambantota.

Chasing a revised 275-run target, Pakistan struggled losing to five batters during the key intervals. Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera excelled with their slow media pace deliveries taking two wickets apiece.

After Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq elected to field first, the condition was tough as two left arm pacemen Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan put pressure under the cloudy sky. The hosts scored only 17 runs in six over losing Tillekeratne Dilshan. Suddenly, rain interrupted and wasted 45 minutes before the match resumed as 45 overs per side with three bowlers are allowed to bowl nine overs. The mandatory power play was also limited for nine overs.

After the barren start, Kumar Sangakkara and Upul Tharanga found the momentum with sun broke in. Sri Lanka reached 50-1 in 12 overs. During Sangakkara’s 25-run short innings off 40 balls, he struck four typical boundaries through cover and mid-wicket. But the left hander, who has a great track record at the venue, went softly, gifting an easy catch to point after Tharanga nicked in Riaz’s previous over.

Pakistan’s paceman Mohammed Irfan celebrates after dismissimg Sri Lasnka opener T.M.Dilshan.

Dinesh Chandimal once again perished for his continuous uncontrolled hook shots. Irfan, the world’s tallest paceman tested the batsman with nasty and awkward bouncers. At last, Chandimal, who had spent a very good time with SL “A’ in England with two centuries, top edged to the deep-fine-leg fieldsman for 6.

Skipper Angelo Mathews came in, on a difficult situation, when the side needed a lot his stupendous talent to get rid of such a terrible part, which the Lankans had slumped to 75-4 in 17.4 overs.

Pakistan fielding was exceptionally well, comparing to the concluded two-Test series. But both Mathews and Mahela Jayawardene was rock solid in the middle. Jayawardene, the retired Test cricketer, never lost his composure, punched away every lose delivery with his array of artistic shots all part of the ground.

The pair gradually consolidated by ticking the scoreboard with the occasional big shots during the crucial juncture of the innings. The Lankans reached 150-run mark at the end of 32nd over. Jayawardene and Mathews staged a comfortable platform before the batting power play start.

Pakistan skipper used five bowlers – Afridi, Irfan, Junaid, Riaz and Hafeeq respectively during the last batting power play but Sri Lanka reaped rich dividends forging 40 runs. Losing Jayawardene, who ran himself out after guiding the ball to wicket-keeper Akmal, was the only consolation for the tourists during the power play.

Sri Lanka took the control of the game with the flourishing of Jayawardene and Mathews. The match defining 116-run stand for the fifth wicket came in 121 balls. Jayawardene scored his 73rd ODI fifty and surpassed Inzamam-ul-Haq’s career runs to become the fifth batsman with 11,744 runs in 421 matches. The home side reached 204-5 in 39.2 overs with Mathew’s second six, the second one off Afridi.

Thisara Perera banged two big shots – a six and a four before Riaz came in. Riaz took his 50th ODI wicket deceiving Perera, who was shattered his off stump. Sri Lanka made late flurry of runs during the last 11 overs accumulating 124 runs in the last 66 balls. Ashan Priyanjan, who also had a very good tour in England and Ireland with SL “A” team, played a stunning 13-ball innings and scored 39 runs. His cool and calm batting with delicate shots with superb timing, helped Sri Lanka to set a challenging 275 total.


Upul Tharanga c Akmal b Riaz			18
Tillekeratne Dilshan lbw Irfan			06
Kumar Sangakkara c Shehzad b Hafeez		25
Mahela Jayawardene run out (Akmal)		63
Dinesh Chandimal c Riaz b Irfan			06
Angelo Mathews b Riaz				89
Thisara Perera b Riaz				13
Ashan Priyanjan not out				39
Nuwan Kulasekara not out			03
Extras (lb 3, w 10)				13
TOTAL (7 wickets; 45 overs)		       275

Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Dilshan), 2-52 (Tharanga)
		 3-55 (Sangakkara), 4-75 (Chandimal)
		 5-191 (Jayawardene), 6-228 (Perera)
		 7-247 (Mathews)
Bowling: Mohammad Irfan 9-0-48-2
	 Junaid Khan 9-1-75-0
	 Wahab Riaz 9-0-50-3
	 Mohammad Hafeez 8-0-32-1
	 Shahid Afridi 9-0-57-0
	 Fawad Alam,1-0-10-0

Ahmed Shehzad b Perera				49
Mohammad Hafeez lbw b Mathews			21
Younis Khan c Kulasekara b Mathews		03
Umar Akmal c Malinga b Perera			15
Misbah-ul-Haq c Sangakkara b Herath		13
Fawad Alam c Priyanjan b Malinga		62
Sohaib Maqsood not out				89
Shahid Afridi not out				14
Extras (b 4, w 7)				11
TOTAL (6 wickets; 44.5 overs)		       277

Fall of wickets: 1-39 (Hafeez), 2-47 (Y Khan), 3-79 (Akmal)
		 4-94 (Shehzad), 5-106 (ul-Haq), 6-253 (Alam)
Bowling: Lasith Malinga 9-0-60-1
	 Nuwan Kulasekara 8.5-0-56-0
	 Angelo Mathews 9-0-48-2
	 Thisara Perera 7-0-43-2
	 Rangana Herath 9-0-49-1
	 Tillekeratne Dilshan 2-0-17-0

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