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Dominant Pakistan clinches ODI series in Sri Lanka

Bowlers restrict home side to 256/9 before Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez play good hands to take visiting side past the target for a seven-wicket win

Dominant Pakistan clinches ODI series in Sri Lanka
 - Cricket News
The result kept alive Pakistan’s hopes of qualifying for the eight-team ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the fourth One-Day International between the two teams in Colombo on Wednesday (July 22) to take a decisive 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
 
Ahmed Shehzad hit 95 off 90 balls and Mohammad Hafeez contributed an 88-ball 70 to take Pakistan over the line in just 40.5 overs after its bowlers had restricted Sri Lanka to 256 for 9.
 
The result kept alive Pakistan’s hopes of qualifying for the eight-team ICC Champions Trophy 2017, to be played in England.
 
Sri Lanka is assured of taking part in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, but was lacklustre in the crucial encounter at the R Premadasa Stadium.
 
Shehzad and Azhar Ali, the captain, put Pakistan on course for victory with an opening stand of 75 in 11 overs before Lasith Malinga removed Azhar for 33, scored off 28 balls.
 
Hafeez then helped Shehzad build on the start by adding 115 for the second wicket, but Sri Lanka hit back to remove both batsmen in the space of 23 runs.
 
Shehzad fell five runs short of his fourth ODI century when he cut Suranga Lakmal to Kusal Perera at third man after hitting 12 fours and a six in his innings.
 
Hafeez was then caught behind by Dinesh Chandimal off Milinda Siriwardana to leave Pakistan on 213 for 3, but Pakistan had reached a position of strength by then.
 
Shoaib Malik hit a 16-ball 29 and ended the match by lofting Siriwardana over mid-wicket for his fourth six, while Sarfraz Ahmed remained unbeaten on 17 off 23 balls. 
 
Earlier, Lahiru Thirimanne top scored with 90, scored off 126 balls, after Angelo Mathews won the toss and elected to bat. Thirimanne put on 109 for the second wicket with Tillakaratne Dilshan (50 in 59 balls) after Mohammad Irfan had sent Kusal Perera back off the second ball of the match.
 
Thirimanne missed his century when he swept Yasir Shah to deep square-leg, where Shehzad picked up a low catch to make amends for a dropped catch in the bowler's previous over.
 
Besides Thirimanne and Dilshan, none of the other top-order batsmen settled in, but Malinga smashed 17 off 13 balls at the end to ensure Sri Lanka crossed the 250-run mark.
 
Irfan finished with 3-50, while Anwar Ali took 2-41.

The fifth match will be played in Hambantota on Sunday.
 

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