Dec 27, 2013
After wrapping up the five-match series earlier this week, Pakistan still didn’t rest the top order batsmen who have been instrumental in posting huge scores and sending Sri Lanka to face the uncertainty — i.e the floodlights and the dew factor in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Misbah won the toss and elected to bat. Backing his top order who have been in scintillating form in the series, the decision also made sense as the Abu Dhabi pitch had purchase written all over it for the bowlers.
Mohammad Hafeez, easily the man of the tournament so far batted with solidity and Sharjeel Khan too,gave good support to the in-form batsman. Lakmal was expensive in his first spell after opening the attack with Angelo Mathews
Lasith Malinga, surprisingly the second change bowler, got Sri Lanka their much needed breakthrough — a clever slow yorker that Sharjeel scooped generously to the bowler.
Sohaib Maqsood didn’t stick around for long either after Tillakaratne Dilshan took a smart catch at point, off Malinga in the 17th over.
Skipper Misbah and Hafeez dropped anchor yet again and the veteran Pakistani duo were threatening to take the game away from the Sri Lankans.
Mathews, coming back into the attack, removed Hafeez albeit with some movement off the rough, bringing down curtains to the prolific Pakistan opener’s show in this series.
Misbah, in typical fashion stroked the occasional boundary and ran hard as a man half his age would brought up his 35th half-century with a towering six over mid-wicket off Malinga.
The Sri Lankan pacer had his revenge just a ball later when Kumar Sangakkara took a superb diving catch down the leg side. Misbah was out for 51.
With the score at 169 for five in 38 overs at this stage, Umar Akmal holed out off Ajantha Mendis and a lack of application by the Pakistani lower middle order batsmen triggered a collapse.
Abdur Rehman was sent packing by Malinga, his fourth scalp and Umar Gul didn’t last long either after a calamitous mix up with Anwar Ali.
In just his third ODI, Anwar Ali held fort and rallied with the tail with an aggressive 41 not out. The way he hammered Malinga in the 49th over deserves special praise.
Lakmal polished of Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan, both trapped in front in the final over of the innings. Anwar Ali though did his reputation no harm for getting his team to 232, a fighting total that looked unlikely at one stage.
Pakistan 232 in 49.3 overs (Mohammad Hafeez 41, Misbah-ul-Haq 51, Anwar Ali 41*; Lasith Malinga 4 for 57 and Suranga Lakmal 3 for 42) vs Sri Lanka.
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