• PAK v SL, 2nd ODI Review: Tharanga’s effort goes in vain; Pakistan go two up in the series

    The Lankan captain gave his best, but Sri Lanka fell short by 32 runs. 

    Shadab Khan of Pakistan
    Shadab Khan of Pakistan celebrates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

    It’s often disappointing to see innings of this caliber go in vain, but Pakistan just about managed to hold their nerves and registered a brilliant win. Upul Tharanga’s one man show almost took Sri Lanka over the line, but their slow start haunted them in the final few overs and eventually, they succumbed by 32 runs.

    Sri Lanka raced off to a brilliant start by picking three wickets inside the first powerplay. Lahiru Gamage did the bulk of the damage in this phase as he was able to extract some bounce off the track. He first removed Fakhar Zaman by enforcing an edge off his bat into the slips. Suranga Lakmal then got the other opener Ahmed Shehzad and when Mohammad Hafeez succumbed to the relentless pressure exerted by Gamage, he fell on the last ball of the Powerplay.

    The scorecard read 40/3 and Pakistan were in wholesome trouble. Babar Azam, who got a hundred the other day, once again stuck into the crease and proved why he’s rated so highly. His partner Shoaib Malik didn’t accompany for a long time though, as he fell in the 18th over with Pakistan finding themselves at 71/4. Skipper Sarfraz Khan fell almost immediately and half the side were back in the hunt with more than 30 overs left in the innings.

    Amidst all the chaos, Azam kept playing his natural game by ticking the scoreboard with ones and twos and completed a brilliant half-century. There was an occasional boundary here and there, but it came quite rarely.Imad Wasim was the next victim in the bowlers’ onslaught and Shadab Khan accompanied the 23-year-old to build a memorable partnership.

    Both these players stuck in for 22 odd overs and their partnership helped Pakistan reach a dignified scoreline. Shadab Khan rotated the strike brilliantly and Azam didn’t take too many risks, playing accordingly to the situation. A composed and talismanic innings deserve some landmarks and Azam got to his hundred in the 49th over of the game. The duo had added a 100-run stand by then.

    There was a lot of drama in the final over as three wickets fell and only 7 runs were amassed. But the important point was Pakistan reaching 219 for the loss of 9 wickets in their 50 overs. Azam fell in the last over for a scintillating 101 off 133 balls, whilst Shadab remained not out on 52. Gamage returned with figures of 4/57 in 10 overs for Sri Lanka.

    Bowlers bang on target!

    When there are some world class fast bowlers on your side, even a target of 220 seems gigantic. That’s exactly what happened as the Pakistani fast bowlers unleashed on the Lankan top order and didn’t let them score even a single run freely. It was a disappointing batting rendition barring Upul Tharanga’s immaculately classy hundred.

    Junaid Khan started the proceedings with Dickwella’s wicket and there was flurry later on. Kusal Mendis fell the next over after the power play and though Lahiru Thirimanne stuck with Tharanga for some time, he clearly struggled. When Thirimanne was dismissed, they were 70/3 and Chandimal, Siriwardara, Thisara Perera and Akila Dananjaya fell in a span of 20 balls. This reduced them to 93/7 and only a miracle would’ve saved them from here.

    Upul Tharanga didn’t feel like giving up from this position as he stitched an outstanding partnership with Jeffrey Vandersay. Both these players outplayed the owlers and after a cautious beginning to their partnership, they managed to catch up with the required run rate. Just when Tharanga was closing in on his hundred, Vandersay lost his composure and Rumaman Raees sent him back to the green room.

    Tharanga was attempting a two whilst batting on 99 and after getting one run, Lakmal ran himself out at the other end and they were left with only one wicket. This was the time when Pakistan completely pounced on them to ensure the required rate escalates to unreachable heights. Tharanga gave his best, but Sri Lanka fell short by 32 runs.

    Brief Scores

    Pakistan: 219/9 in 50 overs (Babar Azam 101, Shadab Khan 52*; Lahiru Gamage 4/57)

    Sri Lanka: 187 all out in 48 overs (Upul Tharanga 112*, Shadab Khan 3/47)