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Sohaib Maqsood, Fawad Alam take Pakistan to victory against Sri Lanka in thriller

Shahid Afridi © Getty Images (File Photo)
Shahid Afridi did not do much with the ball, but scored a quick 14 at the end © Getty Images (File Photo)

By Rajarshi Majumdar

Aug 23, 2014

Pakistan have won the 1st One-Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka by four wickets in a thriller at Hambantota. They were set a target of 276 runs which they had to chase in 45 overs. Pakistan started off really slowly as the Sri Lankan bowlers were bowling a tight line where the batsmen struggled to score. Pakistan kept on losing wickets at regular intervals until they were 106 for five. It was a Sohaib Maqsood and Fawad Alam show after that. They did exactly the same thing what Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews did. One kept the scoreboard ticking and the other was happy rotating the strikes.

Maqsood and Alam registered the highest ever sixth wicket partnership for Pakistan ever. their 147 runs partnership set the stage for Shahid Afridi to finish off the game in his style. Maqsood had a plan in his plan and he executed it to perfection. It was quite clear that he was not going to allow the Sri Lankan bowlers to settle down. ALam and Maqsood maintained the required run rate towards the end. They made sure that if they cannot hit Lasith Malinga, they will score the runs in two’s or three’s. That became really frustrating for Sri Lanka.

If Kumar Sangakkara would not missed the stumping chance it would have been a different story altogether. Angelo Mathews‘s valiant effort both with the bat and ball went in vain.

Earlier in the first  innings, Mathews smashed a quickfire 89 and Jayawardene’s innings of 63 helped Sri Lanka set a daunting target of 276, against Pakistan in their rain-truncated first ODI match at Hambantota. Sri Lanka recovered well after being reduced to 55/3 in the 13th over, as Mathews and Jayawardene’s 116-run stand helped them get back on track.

Pakistan were tamed by Sri Lanka in the Test series and since then the tourists were planning a comeback plot to avenge their defeat. It all started on a good note on Saturday in the first ODI, as they kept the Sri Lankan openers quiet for the initial overs. Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan opened the proceedings for Pakistan, and bowled a good line and length. In the first six overs Sri Lanka could only manage 18 runs and also lost the big wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Jayawardene and Mathews added as many as 116 runs for the fifth wicket, which not only provided Sri Lanka much-needed momentum but also a platform from where they could launch them for a big total. Jayawardene fell in the 38th over, and despite the wicket Mathews looked to hoik each and every ball and reached his highest-ever ODI score of 89 from 84 balls.

At one moment it looked like Sri Lanka might just crawl up to somewhere around 220, but Mathews’s knock and some late blitz from Ashan Priyanjan helped the hosts pile up 275 from 45 overs.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 275 for 7 in 45 overs (Mahela Jayawardene 63, Angelo Mathews 89; Mohammad Irfan 2 for 48, Wahab Riaz 3 for 50) lost to Pakistan (Fawad Alam 62, Sohaib Maqsood 89; Angelo Mathews 2 for 48, Thisara Perera 2 for 43) by 4 wickets.

Man of the match: Sohaib Maqsood

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Complete coverage of Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka here

(Rajarshi Majumdar is a reporter at CricketCountry. He played cricket for all age levels under the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for over 12 years. Apart from cricket he is an avid follower of football, supports Manchester United and a foodie at heart.)

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