Pakistan edged out Sri Lanka in a thrilling encounter at the Cobham Oval, Whangarei to storm into the quarterfinal. Neither of the two teams was ready to give up in the do-or-die clash, but in the end, the boys in green prevailed over the Islanders. Chasing a tricky 188, Pakistan achieved the target in the 44th over by losing seven wickets.
Pakistan skipper Hasan Khan’s decision to bat first in the must-win game was justified by his bowlers, as they restricted Sri Lanka to just 188. It was poor batting display from Sri Lanka barring two none of the batsmen could cross the 20-run mark. At 37 for one, Sri Lanka was looking set for a good total, but their innings got derailed after Shaheen Afridi ended the 31-run stand between Dhananjaya Lakshan and Krishan Arachchige by dismissing the former.
From thereon, Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals, as half of the side was back in the hut with just 72 runs on the board. A 76-run stand between Jehan Daniel and Ashen Bandara steadied the ship and revived Sri Lanka’s hopes. However, the hope lasted for very little, as once both were dismissed in quick succession, Sri Lanka went on to get all out for 188.
Sri Lanka, however, was not ready to throw in the towel yet, giving the two-time champions a run for their money but in the end, the score did not turn out to be enough. Pakistan was looking well on their way to overhaul the target when Ali Zaryab and Mohammad Taha steadied the ship after their side was reduced to 57 for three. The duo laid the foundation for the easy chase with a 61-run stand before Santhush Gunathilaka dismissed Taha for 24. One run later, Thisaru Rashmika accounted for Saad Khan to reduce Pakistan to 119 for five.
A 33-run stand between Zaryab and Shaheen Afridi looked to have settled down the tie, but there was more drama to come, as Sri Lanka clawed their way back into the game by dismissing both of them. But skipper Hasan Khan and Mohammad Musa shared an unbeaten stand of 35-runs to break the Sri Lankan hearts and took Pakistan home.
Pakistan 190 for 7 (Zaryab 59, Khan 24*, Rashmika 3-47) beat Sri Lanka 188 for 10 (Daniel 53, Bandara 37, Shafqat 3-29) by 3 wickets.
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