Sri Lanka’s horror run in the One-Day Internationals took a turn for the worse in Sharjah on Monday (October 23) as they were not only blown by Pakistan in the fifth and final game but also their second consecutive and third whitewash of this year.
In yet another poor batting performance, the Islanders were folded up inside 27 overs with just 103 runs on the board. Only four batsmen could cross the double-digit mark while none of them could surpass 25 as Sri Lanka’s dismal show in the ODIs continued this year.
Left-arm seamer Usman Khan was the destructor-in-chief, taking 5 for 34 to blow away the beleaguered visitors. Chasing a modest 104, the reigning Champions Trophy holders did not face any problem and chased down the total inside 21 overs with both the openers Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman scoring 40-plus.
Speaking after the heavy 9-wicket defeat, Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga admitted that his team could not handle the pressure well before praising Usman Khan and his fellow bowlers.
“We didn’t play well. Very disappointed. We couldn’t handle the pressure well. Usman bowled really well and he deserved a fifer. Pakistan bowlers always think of taking wickets, they put pressure by bowling dots and that is why I think they end up taking more wickets. We keep repeating the same mistakes and I’m very disappointed to say that. Hopefully, the boys learn from their mistakes and come out strong next time,” a disappointed Tharanga said at the presentation ceremony.
Meanwhile, Usman, who picked up the five wickets in the space of 21 balls, was adjudged the Man of the Match. Speaking of his heroics, the left-arm pacer said:
“It was not that easy. I’m gaining confidence with every opportunity I’m getting. I want to perform well and that’s my desire no matter which side I play for. Dad forced me to play cricket and today I look back and feel happy for myself for whatever I’ve done. I’m dedicating this special performance [7 overs 34 runs 5 wickets] to my parents. The coach and the staff keep telling me to focus on the basics and that’s what I try to do.”