Chasing a target of 298, Pakistan’s openers provided a solid start
Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets in the third One-day International (ODI) between the sides at the National Stadium in Karachi to claim the series two-nil.
Chasing a target of 298, Pakistan’s openers Fakhar Zaman and Abid Ali provided a solid start with a first wicket partnership of 123 runs.
Abid was the first to depart after leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga got one to bounce low to trap the opener leg before wicket (LBW). The umpire originally gave it not-out but a review showed that the ball, having missed the bat, would have cannoned into the stumps.
Batsman Babar Azam played a breezy knock of 31 runs off 26 deliveries before falling LBW to fast-bowler Nuwan Pradeep when the original decision of not-out was overturned after a review by the Islanders.
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Fakhar provided a solid platform for Pakistan with an uncharacteristically mature innings. The opener scored 76 runs off 91 deliveries before falling prey to Pradeep. Batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed scored 23 runs off 33 deliveries before being bowled by fast-bowler Lahiru Kumara.
Batsmen Haris Sohail and Iftikhar Ahmed then stitched together a partnership of 43 runs to help Pakistan edge closer to an emphatic victory. Sohail, however, fell close to the finish line when he was bowled by spinner Shehan Jayasuriya after scoring 56 runs off 50 deliveries.
Ahmed guided his side to victory and remained unbeaten at 28 runs off 22 deliveries.
Earlier, Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first on a flat track. Opener Avishka Fernando fell early when he edged behind to wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed off the bowling of fast-bowler Mohammad Amir.
Opener Danushka Gunathilaka and batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, however, did not allow the Pakistan pacers to dominate, as they did in the second ODI, and stitched together a partnership of 88 runs to provide a solid platform for Sri Lanka.
Spinner Mohammad Nawaz, who replaced all-rounder Imad Wasim, broke the partnership before it could become threatening when he got rid of Thirimanne, who scored 36 runs off 53 deliveries.
Batsman Angelo Perera could not provide a lot of support as, the player of the match from the previous match, fast-bowler Usman Shinwari struck with the batsman having scored 13 off 25 deliveries.
Gunathilaka then found an able partner in batsman Minod Bhanuka and brought up his 100 off 100 deliveries. A 74-run partnership between the two helped Sri Lanka establish a solid foundation for the final part of their innings.
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However, Bhanuka was left stranded in the middle of the pitch as Sarfaraz broke the stumps to end the crucial partnership with a run-out. Gunathilaka fell quickly after, trying to up the tempo, against Amir. The opener scored 133 runs off 134 balls.
All-rounder Dasun Shanaka then played a quick-fire innings to ensure that the foundation laid earlier was not wasted. The youngster smashed 43 runs off 24 balls to propel Sri Lanka to 297 for 9 in their allotted overs.
For his scintillating knock, Abid bagged the award for the player of the match. Babar bagged the award for the player of the series.