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Multi-faceted Hafeez stars in Pakistan victory

Allrounder follows up figures of 4 for 41 with stroke-filled century to give visiting side 1-0 lead in five-match ODI series

Multi-faceted Hafeez stars in Pakistan victory - Cricket News
Mohammad Hafeez took 4 for 41 to keep Sri Lanka to 255 for 8 before scoring a century as Pakistan won by six wickets.
Mohammad Hafeez turned in a fine all-round performance to power Pakistan to a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first One-Day International of a five-match series in Dambulla on Saturday (July 11). Hafeez first took 4 for 41 to restrict Sri Lanka, after Pakistan had opted to field on winning the toss, and then came out all guns blazing to smash 103 off just 95 balls to give his side a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Hafeez's efforts meant Sri Lanka was kept to a reasonable 255 for 8 in its 50 overs. The chase, riding once again on Hafeez's shoulders, was completed in 45.2 overs.

Pakistan entered this series ranked ninth in the ICC tables, and needs to come out triumphant in the series to stay in contention for a spot in the eight-team ICC Champions Trophy in England in 2017. Sri Lanka, currently ranked fifth, is assured of taking part in the tournament.

Hafeez seized the moment, bowling well to take three top order wickets and adding a fourth later, to finish with his best ODI figures in what were good batting conditions. He then starred with the bat too, hitting 10 boundaries and four sixes in his 10th ODI century.

Pakistan lost Azhar Ali, the captain, and Ahmed Shehzad, his opening partner, by the 15th over with the score at 65, before Hafeez settled in to fashion a recovery. He put on 58 for the third wicket with Babar Azam (25), and 75 for the fourth wicket with Shoaib Malik, who ended the match with a six off Tillakaratne Dilshan to complete his half-century and end on 55 not out off 45 balls.

Hafeez reached his century in the 36th over with a four off Thisara Perera, but fell two balls later when he gave the same bowler a return catch.

Earlier, Dinesh Chandimal top-scored with an unbeaten 65 off 68 balls, propping up an innings that had been kept in check by accurate bowling. 

Chandimal put on 82 for the fifth wicket with Angelo Mathews (38) and 40 for the seventh with Milinda Siriwardana (22), the debutant, after the first four batsmen had fallen to leave the home side 118 for 4 by the 27th over.

Rahat Ali took two wickets in the 49th over as Sri Lanka scored 56 runs in the last nine overs.

Pakistan had won the Test series 2-1 with a seven-wicket win in the final Test in Pallekele on Tuesday. The second ODI will be played there on Wednesday.

To view the full scorecard, please click here.

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