Though, Pakistan has ensured itself a series win, but a drop in intensity is unlikely when it takes on Sri Lanka today on Sunday (July 26).
Pakistan, riding on Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad’s batting prowess, went past the target of 257 set by Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI on Wednesday to attain an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
“There was no real penetration in our bowling attack,” admitted Sri Lankan Captain Angelo Mathews, speaking after the match. “Hopefully we can rectify it. We need to play positive cricket and get out of hits hole we have dug ourselves in.”
After the failure of bowling side, for the fifth match Sri Lanka will depend on its batting side while Pakistan has got a lot of things going for it, with Rahat Ali, Anwar Ali and Irfan Khan leading the pace attack and the likes of Yasir Shah, the legspinner, operating effectively in the middle overs.
Hafeez is the highest run-getter of the series so far, having scored 236 runs at at an average of 59.00 in the four matches. His century – 103 off 95 balls – gave Pakistan a six-wicket win in the first ODI in Dambulla. Hafeez is closely followed by Shehzad and Azhar Ali, the captain, who have ensured solid batting performances for Pakistan throughout the series.
From the qualification point of view for the Champions Trophy, the series win is crucial for Pakistan, who, with 90.4 rating points in the International Cricket Council’s ranking system, is now two points ahead of West Indies (88.4 points).
This is the first time Pakistan has won a series in Sri Lanka since 2006 and the ODI series will be followed by a two Twenty20 Internationals between the two sides on July 30 and August 1.
Azhar Ali (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Anwar Ali, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Shafiq, Mukhtar Ahmed, Bilal Asif, Immad Wasim, Ehsan Adil.
Team Sri Lanka:
Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Thisara Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Ashan Priyanjan, Sachithra Senanayake, Sachith Pathirana.
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