Hassan, spinners guide Pakistan to seven-wicket win against Sri Lanka
SHARJAH – Sri Lanka’s plight with the bat continued as Hassan Ali and the Pakistan spinners once again guided their team to another one-sided win, this time by seven wickets with 11 overs to spare in the fourth One-Day International in Sharjah on Friday.
Hassan took 3 for 37 to cap his rise to the top spot among bowlers in ICC’s ODI rankings, while Imad Wasim had 2 for 13 and Shadab Khan had 2 for 29. Sri Lanka was kept to just 173 all out in 43.4 overs, and despite losing three early wickets, the target was never beyond Pakistan’s reach. The home team duly sealed a 4-0 lead in just 39 overs, with only one ODI remaining in the series.
This was Sri Lanka’s 11th loss in a row in ODIs, just three shy of its worst run of 14 in 1987. It was also Sri Lanka’s sixth loss against Pakistan in Sharjah. The last time the team beat Pakistan in the city was in 2002.
Sri Lanka had a glimmer of hope when Pakistan lost three early wickets, but Babar Azam (69 not out off 101) and Shoaib Malik (69 not out off 81), came together for a dominating, unbroken 119-run partnership for the fourth wicket in 25 overs. The result was never in doubt after Pakistan’s fine bowling performance, and the duo of Azam and Malik sealed victory.
Malik hit three sixes and two fours, while Azam hit five fours. The two came together at 58 for 3 in 14 overs, but didn’t allow Sri Lanka a breakthrough from there.
The visiting team’s batting once again lacked purpose and application. From the second ball of the second over, it kept losing wickets and ended up with another below-par total.
Sri Lanka lost Upul Tharanga, their in-form skipper, to Usman Shinwari, the debutant getting a big wicket with his second ball in international cricket. Niroshan Dickwella tried to release the pressure by hitting three boundaries and a six in his 16-ball 22, but once he was dismissed and Dinesh Chandimal ran himself out for 16, the innings faltered. Sri Lanka lost its last eight wickets for 114.
Things could have been worse but Lahiru Thirimanne showed some resistance during a 94-ball 62 that had four boundaries. He added 40 for the fifth wicket with Milinda Siriwardana, and then 43 for the eighth wicket with Akila Dananjaya, who made 18. In the end Suranga Lakmal’s 23 not out took Sri Lanka past the 150 mark, but it was never going to be enough. –ICC