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Sri Lanka edge Pakistan in a close encounter

Angelo Mathews led form the front to edge Pakistan in the second ODI © Getty Images
Angelo Mathews led form the front to edge Pakistan in the second ODI © Getty Images

 

Dec 20, 2013

 

Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by two wickets in a tense finish to the second one-day in Dubai to level the five-match series at 1-1.

 

Sri Lanka began their daunting run chase of 285 in a positive manner, not too dissimilar to the first One Day International at Sharjah. Instead of Kusal Perera, it was Dilshan who led the charge with a wide range of strokes before some excellent fielding and throwing from the Pakistani fieldsmen applied the brakes on the Sri Lankan run chase.

 

First, Dilshan tried to push for a miscalculated single which ran Perera out and ran himself out courtesy an accurate throw from Bilawal Bhatti from mid wicket.

 

In a spot of bother at the time, Kumar Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal wasted no time and in their typical manner, rotated the strike and negotiated the deliveries to go for the big hits. They took a particular liking to the spinners with Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi being carted around by the Sri Lankan duo.

 

Sangakkara soon brought up yet another half century and after winning the ICC ODI player of the year last week, the classy Sri Lankan added yet another feather to his cap by going past 12000 ODI runs.

 

Just when the partnership was threatening to take the game away from the Lankans, luck favoured the Pakistanis when Sangakkara chopped a Saeed Ajmal delivery on to his stumps for 58.

 

Misbah-ul-Haq sniffed blood at this point and brought in Junaid Khan, who rewarded the captain with a double strike of Chandimal and Thisara Perera with the islanders tottering at 173 for five.

 

Having little choice but to go after the bowling Nuwan Kulasekara went after the bowling with some towering hits and his innings before being stumped of a Shahid Afridi delivery. The all-rounder scored 32 of just 26 balls. Junaid khan, soon after removed the dangerous Seekuge Prasanna with a superb in-swinger that crashed into his stumps.

 

Not to be panicked by the double strike, Skipper Angelo Mathews steadied the ship with caution and the occasional boundary. Dimuth Karunaratne had other ideas and powered the Pakistan bowling with a couple of big hits which turned the tie considerably in Sri Lanka’s favour.

 

With 16 needed of two overs, Junaid was ripped apart after being Pakistan’s best performer for the most part. Sri Lankans got 12 of the penultimate over.

 

Afridi, bowling the last over made a match out of it by scalping Angelo Mathews when the Sri Lankan captain hit it straight to mid wicket but Sachitra Senanayke continued his heroics from Sharjah when slammed a loose ball to the fence.

 

As the Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq would remark later, It was not that Pakistan bowled badly but three or four bad overs did them in the end.

 

The third match of the series will be played in Sharjah on Sunday.

 

Brief scores :

Pakistan 284 for 4 in 50 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 124, Mohammad Hafeez 32, Misbah-ul-Haq 59*, Shahid Afridi 30*; Seekkuge Prasanna 1 for 45) lost to Sri Lanka 287 for 8 in 49.4 Overs ( Kumar Sangakkara 58 , Dinesh Chandimal 44 , Angelo Mathews 47; Junaid Khan 3 for 52, Shahid Afridi 2 for 47)

 

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