PAKISTAN: 287- 8 (50)
SRI LANKA: 288-8 (48.1)
The second ODI played between hosts Sri Lanka and Pakistan was like a see saw battle. On occasions, one side was way mightier than the other, and on other occasions, it was the time for the other side to emerge dominant. All in all, it was a brilliant advertisement for ODI cricket. At the end though, it were the hosts, who clinched victory by 2 wickets, as Kusal Perera provided the Sri Lankans with a rocketing start which was integral in providing the early momentum. Perera in many ways idolizes Sanath Jayasuriya. Gladly for him, against Pakistan in the 2nd ODI, he equaled Jayasuriya’s feat of the quickest half century in ODI cricket off just 17 balls.
Batting first, Pakistan got to an impressive total of 287-8 as skipper Azhar Ali led from the front with a cautious knock. Ali and Ahmad Shahzad got off to a solid start as they played with a hint of caution. Shahzad however, was guilty of once again throwing away a start, as he was dismissed for 30, with the score being 59. Mohammad Hafeez was dismissed cheaply as well, as he could only make 9 before heading back to the pavilion. Babar Azam, who showed great character in the first ODI was dismissed quickly as well.
Ali and Malik however, got together and were involved in a fine partnership. Malik made a run a ball 51 and he hit 3 sixes. Malik and Ali were dismissed in quick succession and the threat of Pakistan being restricted to a below par score looked eminent. However, Mohammad Rizwan’s breezy 52 off 38 ensured that there were no worries for Pakistan. Mathews was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers as he picked up a wicket and was economical.
Chasing under lights in Sri Lanka is always a difficult task. But it wasn’t too difficult for the moody Kusal Perera, who got the hosts off to an absolute flier. Perera hit as many as 13 boundaries and 2 sixes in his 25 ball knock of 68. The 50 for the Sri Lankans was raised in just the 4th over, as Perera was simply unstoppable. In the first mandatory powerplay, the Sri Lankans had raced to 98. Perera was eventually dismissed for 68 by Mohammad Irfan. Tharanga and Dilshan were dismissed in quick succession by Rahat Ali. Soon, skipper Mathews and Thirimanne too made their way back as Pakistan stamped their way back in the game.
Dinesh Chandimal though, played an exceptionally calm innings as he guided the Sri Lankan run chase in the latter half of the innings. Chandimal found able support in Siriwardana and Sachith Pathirana, who made efficient contributions.
In the end, it was just a matter of time as Chandimal as Thisara Perera calmly guided Sri Lanka through with 11 balls to spare. With the third ODI in a few days, the Pakistanis surely need to pull up their socks’ from the bowling front.
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