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ICC World Cup: Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the most successful World Cup chase

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Records tumbled in Hyderabad as Pakistan pulled off a stunning chase against Sri Lanka to win their second game by six wickets. Pakistan managed to mow down 345 to register the highest successful run chase in World Cup history as Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan came up with tons to trump the efforts earlier from Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama. For the first time in World Cup history, four centuries were scored in the same game.

Pakistan actually made a poor start to the chase as Imam-ul-Haq added to his side’s woes at the top of the order. While Babar Azam flicked his first ball for a boundary to get the crowd going, he too didn’t last long and nicked one down the leg side to depart for just 10. By the end of the powerplay, Pakistan had only 48 on the board and were content on rebuilding the innings after the two wickets.

What Pakistan’s low risk game did however was increase the asking rate. Both Shafique and Rizwan didn’t buckle down under pressure though and kept rotating the strike with the odd boundary being hit. At the halfway point, Pakistan needed 207 from 150 balls which is when the two batters decided to accelerate. Matheesha Pathirana in particular had a poor outing and was hit for a boundary each by both the batters before the opener took on Dunith Wellalage for a four and a six to race into the nineties. As a result, Pakistan’s run rate went past six for the first time in the chase.

A 19-run over from Dilshan Madushanka that also saw Shafique bring up his century turned the momentum firmly in Pakistan’s favour before a stunning catch at backward point ended the opener’s stay. From then on, it was the Rizwan show. Battling cramps, Rizwan struggled to stay up on his feet on multiple occasions but refused to give up. A vital stand with Saud Shakeel ensured that Pakistan seized control of the chase and despite the left-hander departing for 30, Rizwan stayed right until the end to hammer a special ton and finish the job for Pakistan alongside Iftikhar Ahmed.

Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka made a cracking start to their innings, completely in contrast to Pakistan’s. They did lose Kusal Perera for a duck but Mendis and Pathum Nissanka got Sri Lanka going with a flurry of boundaries. Mendis received a massive reprieve while batting on 18 and he made the most of it. Both Mendis and Nissanka got to their respective fifties in the same over before Shadab Khan gave his side a breakthrough by getting rid of the latter.

The wicket didn’t deter Sri Lanka though as Mendis and Samarawickrama continued to make merry to ensure the momentum wasn’t lost. Mendis absolutely feasted on the Pakistan attack as the flurry of boundaries continued with even Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf failing to control the flow of runs. Sri Lanka were on course to go past 350 at the halfway mark having already scored 181 after 25 overs.

Mendis then picked Hasan Ali for more punishment and hit him for a six to bring up a stunning 65-ball century. He targeted the same bowler for two more sixes before finally finding the fielder near the boundary in his attempt to smash a third successive six. While Pakistan removed Charith Asalanka immediately to storm back, Samarawickrama took charge and kept going at the other end. After 41 overs, Sri Lanka were well placed at 294/4 and from thereon a total of 375 was definitely on the cards.

However, Pakistan kept striking at regular intervals at the death. Nawaz opened his account with Dhananjaya de Silva’s wicket and Afridi managed to remove the skipper Dasun Shanaka. Samarawickrama managed to bring up three figures at the other end for the first time in his ODI career but his dismissal with two overs still remaining was a turning point as Pakistan conceded only 9 runs off those 12 balls. That effort at the death where they let Sri Lanka score only 50 runs from the final nine overs eventually made a difference.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 344/9 in 50 overs (Kusal Mendis 122, Sadeera Samarawickrama 108; Hasan Ali 4/71) lost to Pakistan 345/4 in 18.2 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 131*, Abdullah Shafique 113; Dilshan Madushanka 2/60) by six wickets

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