Pakistan vs Sri Lanka ICC CWC Match 8 Report: Pakistan made Sri Lanka’s 345-run target a cakewalk to register the second consecutive victory in the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023. The win marks the highest successful chase in the history of the ODI Cricket World Cup.
A Rocky Start
Pakistan’s chase got off to a rocky start, as Imam-ul-Haq’s early departure added to their woes. Even though Babar Azam briefly energized the crowd with a boundary off his first ball, he too fell quickly, nicking one down the leg side, departing with just 10 runs on the board. By the end of the powerplay, Pakistan had a modest 48 runs, and the emphasis shifted towards rebuilding the innings after these early setbacks.
Pakistan’s approach, characterized by a low-risk game plan, unintentionally increased the required run rate. However, Shafique and Rizwan displayed remarkable composure, diligently rotating the strike while occasionally finding the boundary. When the match reached its halfway point, Pakistan needed to score 207 runs from 150 balls. It was at this juncture that the two batsmen decided to elevate the tempo.
Matheesha Pathirana had a forgettable outing and bore the brunt of their assault, with both batsmen striking boundaries off his bowling. Shafique took on Dunith Wellalage, blasting him for a four and a six, rapidly advancing into the nineties. Consequently, Pakistan’s run rate crossed six for the first time in the chase.
Unwavering Determination of Rizwan
The turning point came with a 19-run over from Dilshan Madushanka, during which Shafique achieved his well-deserved century. However, as per the Pakistan vs Sri Lanka ICC CWC Match 8 Report, his brilliant knock was eventually halted by a spectacular catch at the backward point. From this juncture, it was all about Mohammad Rizwan’s stellar performance. Despite battling cramps and struggling to stay on his feet at times, he exhibited unwavering determination. A crucial partnership with Saud Shakeel ensured Pakistan took control of the chase. Although Shakeel departed after contributing 30 runs, Rizwan continued his heroic effort, reaching an exceptional century and guiding Pakistan to victory alongside Iftikhar Ahmed.
Sri Lanka had a Blazing Start
In the earlier innings, Sri Lanka had made a blazing start, in stark contrast to Pakistan’s initial struggles. While they did lose Kusal Perera for a duck, Mendis and Pathum Nissanka propelled Sri Lanka forward with a flurry of boundaries. According to the Pakistan vs Sri Lanka ICC CWC Match 8 Report, Mendis received a significant reprieve when he was on 18, and he capitalized on it. Both Mendis and Nissanka notched up their respective fifties in the same over. However, Shadab Khan managed to break this partnership by dismissing Nissanka.
Despite the wicket, Sri Lanka maintained their momentum as Mendis and Samarawickrama continued to pile on the runs. Mendis, in particular, capitalized on the Pakistan attack with an array of boundaries. Even the formidable Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf struggled to stem the flow of runs. After 25 overs, Sri Lanka had already amassed 181 runs and were poised to breach the 350-run mark.
Mendis then targeted Hasan Ali, launching a six to bring up a breathtaking century off just 65 balls. He went on to subject the same bowler to two more sixes before finally finding a fielder near the boundary in his attempt for a third successive six. Although Pakistan managed to dismiss Charith Asalanka quickly, Samarawickrama took charge and continued to excel. After 41 overs, Sri Lanka was strongly positioned at 294/4, and a total of 375 seemed within reach.
The Breakthroughs in the Death Overs
However, Pakistan staged a series of breakthroughs during the death overs. Mohammad Nawaz claimed his first wicket with the dismissal of Dhananjaya de Silva, while Shaheen Afridi removed the skipper, Dasun Shanaka. Samarawickrama managed to reach a century, a milestone he had not achieved before in his ODI career. However, his dismissal with two overs remaining marked a significant turning point, as Pakistan conceded a mere 9 runs from the final 12 deliveries. This disciplined effort at the end of the innings, limiting Sri Lanka to only 50 runs in the last nine overs, ultimately made the difference.
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka ICC CWC Match 8 Report: Score Summary
344/9 in 50 overs (Kusal Mendis 122, Sadeera Samarawickrama 108; Hasan Ali 4/71)
345/4 in 18.2 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 131*, Abdullah Shafique 113; Dilshan Madushanka 2/60) by six wickets