23 August 2014
Pakistan clinches victory off penultimate ball
Sohaib Maqsood and Fawad Alam guide visitors to four-wicket win via D/L method against Sri Lanka in first ODI
Maqsood and Alam were involved in a 147-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Pakistan's chase of a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 275 in 50 overs received a major jolt as it was reduced to 106 for 5. But Maqsood's temperament stood out. The 27-year old showed little to suggest he was playing in only his 15th ODI, as he rode the storm to finish unbeaten on 89 off just 73 balls when Shahid Afridi smashed the winning runs off Nuwan Kulasekara with one ball to spare.
That Pakistan fought back from nowhere was also due to the efforts of Alam, who made a hard-fought 62 before he was bowled by Lasith Malinga. The match was still in the balance with Pakistan needing 22 off the last three overs. But Afridi, in his unique style, swung his way to two boundaries in his 10-ball 14 as Pakistan registered its first win on tour.
Earlier, Sri Lanka posted a competitive 275 for 7 after being sent in to bat in overcast conditions, but rain after six overs reduced the contest to 45-overs-a-side. Angelo Mathews continued his golden run with the bat, smashing 89 off 85 balls, while Mahela Jayawardene, who called time on his Test career earlier this week to concentrate on 50-over cricket with the 2015 World Cup in mind, made 63 to steer Sri Lanka.
Mathews hit nine boundaries on his way to his career-best ODI score, before Ashan Priyanjan's unbeaten 39 off 15 balls towards the end provided Sri Lanka the final flourish.
Mohammad Irfan, the tall left-arm pacer, used the conditions to his advantage, swinging the ball and generating disconcerting bounce on a surface that had plenty of moisture underneath owing to the overcast conditions. He finished with 2 for 48 off nine overs, while Wahab Riaz, one of three left-arm seamer alongside Irfan and Junaid Khan, took 3 for 50.
Their efforts meant Pakistan didn't quite miss Saeed Ajmal, who flew to Australia to undergo tests on his bowling action after being reported for an illegal action by the onfield umpires during the first Test in Galle earlier in the month.
Despite Pakistan's solid beginning courtesy Ahmed Shehzad, the opener who made 49, Sri Lanka continued to strike regularly till Maqsood and Alam bailed the visitors out of a hole.
Hambantota will host the second ODI on Tuesday due to bad weather in Colombo, the original venue. The third and final match will be played in Dambulla on August 30.
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