Sri Lanka found Pakistan’s 292 for 6 wickets too much losing by 83 runs in the opening ODI of the 5-match series in Dubai. Sri Lanka made 209 for 8 in 50 overs with Lahiru Thirimanne top scoring with 53 off 74 balls containing 3 boundaries.
Pakistan, sent in to bat after Sri Lankan skipper Upul Tharanga won the toss, lost opener Ahmed Shehzad for a duck dismissed by Gamage who had him well caught by Akila Dananjaya with the total on 11. But next man in Babar Azam saw to it that Sri Lanka did not drive home that advantage. He went on to strike a match winning 103 off 131 balls inclusive of 5 boundaries. Azam put on 64 for the second wicket with Fakhar Zaman who made 43 off 45 studded with 4 boundaries and a six. Pakistan made certain of a big total when Shoaib Malik fell for 81 off 61 balls inclusive of 5 hits to the ropes and 2 sixes.Mohammad Hafiz for 32 when the total was 124. The duo were associated in a 139-run alliance for the fourth wicket before Malik fell for 81 off 61 balls inclusive of 5 boundaries and 2 sixes. Suranga Lakmal claimed 2 wickets for 27 with Dananjaya, Thisara Perera and Jeffrey Vandersay also collecting a wicket apiece.
Sri Lanka’s run rate of 4.18 an over was short of matching Pakistan’s 5.84 . Openers Upul Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella put on 30 before the latter departed for 19. Next man in Dinesh Chandimal did not last long out for 4. The entry of Lahiru Thirimanne peroduced 21runs for the fourth wicket between Tharanga before the latter was out for 18. Kusal Mendis slotted at No.5 did not look at home at all in that slot being dismissed for 2 caught by Sarfraz Ahmed bowled Hasan Ali and it was 67 for 4. Milinda Siriwardena lasted just one ball bowled for a duck by Hasan Ali. At 67 for 5 Thisara Perera joined Thirimanne in adding 41 for the sixth wicket to make it 108 for 6. Perera made 21 off 29 with a boundary and six. Akila Dananjaya added 32 with Thirimanne for the seventh wicket before Thirimanne exited in the thirty second over LBW to Rumman Raees for a defiant half century off 74 balls containing 3 boundaries with the total on 132. Dananjaya was game to the cause stroking an unbeaten 50 off 72 balls with 5 boundaries having associated in a 68-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Vandersay who made 25 off 47. But the lack of enough runs at the top was unhelpful to reach the target.
The Man of the Match was Shoaib Malik for his swashbuckling 81.
By Srian Obeyesekere reporting from Dubai
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-