Sri Lanka clinch a thriller

Captain Mathews and Kulasekara shine as team level series against Pakistan

By Liaqat Ali

Published: Mon 23 Dec 2013, 12:45 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:53 PM

Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara plays a shot against Pakistan. — KT photos by Mukesh Kamal

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews (47) and Nuan Kulasekara (32) played brilliant knocks to guide Sri Lanka to a thrilling two-wicket victory against Pakistan in the second one-day international at Dubai Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Sri Lanka’s victory leaves the five-match ODI series poised at 1-1 and could be the harbinger of close fights in the remaining matches. Sri Lanka made 287-8 in 49.4 overs to win by two wickets.

Earlier, chasing 285, Sri Lanka started in a confident manner as Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kusal Perera played some brilliant shots in the early part of the innings. Both the openers were going great guns but Sri Lanka lost the first wicket in 9th over at the score of 49. Dilshan hit two fours in Saeed Ajmal’s first over and he tried to steal a single from the next ball. The ball went straight to Bilawal Bhatti whose direct throw resulted in Kusal’s run out. Sri Lanka reached 50 in 10th over with Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara at the crease.

The departure of Kusal helped Pakistan stem the flow of runs as boundaries dried down. Sri Lanka suffered the second shock in the form of Dilshan who got run out after scoring a brisk 40. Dilshan played a shot and went for the run but his bat got stuck in the ground and a direct throw from Ahmed Shahzad announced his departure.

Dinesh Chandimal joined Sangakkara in the middle. Bhatti and Junaid Khan were bowling well to make life difficult for the Sri Lankan batsmen. Young Bhatti bowled a maiden over to Chandimal. Then Sangakkara reached his 50 and looked set to play a big innings. He and Chandimal batted sensibly to take Sri Lanka to 159 in 31.5 overs. Sangakkara tried to play an expansive drive against Ajmal and was cleaned up after scoring 58 off 66 deliveries. Now Thisara Perera joined Chandimal in the middle but Sri Lanka lost another wicket. Chandimal was bowled by a beauty from Junaid at the total score of 168 in 33.4 overs. Junaid struck again as he castled Perera and with an identical ball he got the wicket of Chandimal. It left Sri Lanka at 173-5 in 36th over.

Sohail Tanvir was brought back into the attack by Misbah. He gave away 11 runs in his 7th over and 18 in his next over which paved the way for Sri Lanka’s victory. Afridi removed Kulasekara (32) but the damage was already done. Junaid was among the wickets again as he bowled Seekuge Prasanna to leave Sri Lanka at 237-7. Sri Lanka needed four runs from the last over and Afridi was given the responsibility to bowl the 50th over. He got Mathews’ wicket on the very first ball but Sachithra Senanayaka hit the 4th ball off Afridi’s over for four and Sri Lanka won the match by two wickets in a thrilling fashion.

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