Monday, 24 January 2022

Babar Azam star in Pakistan’s 67-run win over Sri Lanka

KARACHI: Pakistan cricket fans left the National Stadium Karachi with big smiles on their faces as the national team registered a thumping 67-run win over Sri Lanka in the second ODI to take an unbeatable 1-0 lead in the three-match series on Monday.

Pakistan rode on a magnificent hundred from Babar Azam and a five-wicket haul from Usman Shinwari to round off an all-rounder performance against a depleted Sri Lankan side, who are missing most of their key players in this series due to security concerns. Chasing a mammoth target of 306, Pakistan bowled Sri Lanka out for 238 in 46.5 overs after posting 305 on the board. Shinwari, who came back in the ODI side after playing his last match in March this year, ended up with 5 for 51 from his 10 overs. This was his second five-wicket haul in 50-over international cricket, both coming against the Lankans.

Shadab Khan got two while Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim managed to bag a wicket each but Pakistan were put under pressure at one stage thanks to the partnership between Shehan Jayasuriya and Dasun Shanaka. Shinwari’s opening spell reduced the Lankans to 28 for 5 inside 12 overs with him bagging 3 wickets while Amir and Wasim got one each.

Jayasuriya and Shanaka then came together to stitch a partnership of 177 runs for the sixth wicket, which is the highest for Sri Lanka in ODI cricket and also the highest at the National Stadium in Karachi. Jayasuriya hit his maiden half-century while Shanaka scored his third during the epic partnership, which put pressure back on the home side. But Shinwari came back in the final powerplay to break the dangerous partnership with Jayasuriya’s wicket for 96 in the 41st over. Shadab then sent back Shanaka for 68 in the very next over to derail the run chase for Sri Lanka.

Earlier, Babar Azam moved past Virat Kohli to become the third fastest batsman to 11 ODI hundreds as Pakistan posted 305 for 7 in 50 overs after opting to bat first. Babar, who scored 115 off 105 balls, reached his 11th hundred in one-day internationals in just his 71st innings while Kohli needed 82 innings to get to 11 ODI centuries. During the knock, Babar also became the quickest to 1000 ODI runs in a calender year for Pakistan, getting to the milestone in only 19 innings and beating Javed Miandad’s record in the process. Fakhar Zaman (54), Haris Sohail (40) and Iftikhar Ahmed (32 not out) also contributed handsomely to Pakistan’s total. The first match was washed out without a ball being bowled.

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