Pakistan 345 for 4 (Rizwan 131*, Shafique 113, Madushanka 2-60) beat Sri Lanka 344 for 9 (Mendis 122, Samarawickrama 108, Hasan Ali 4-71) by six wickets
Rizwan, who suffered from at times seemingly debilitating cramps – the physio came and looked at him twice – for the last 15 overs or so of the chase, remained unbeaten in the end on a 121-ball 131. Together with Shafique – who himself recorded the highest score by a Pakistan debutant at a World Cup with his 113 off 103 – he had put together a third-wicket stand worth 176 off just 156 deliveries.
It was a stand that would break the spine of the chase, though even then it might not have been enough had Rizwan himself not valiantly stuck around till the end. He would put on a further 95 off 68 with Saud Shakeel, and then 37 off 23 with Iftikhar Ahmed, as Pakistan eventually cantered home to a win that will provide them an immense confidence boost ahead of Saturday’s massive clash against India.
As for Sri Lanka, it’s two defeats in as many games, and after conceding over 750 runs across two matches there will be growing concerns over their bowlers’ abilities in handling such batter-friendly tracks.
Pakistan were also clever in ensuring they capitalised on Sri Lanka’s need to fulfil their fifth bowler quota. While Dasun Shanaka went for just 28 in his five overs, Dhananjaya de Silva was taken for 36 in four and Charith Asalanka 10 in his solitary over.
Full report to follow