Again it was great bowling effort from the Pakistani bowlers that sealed them semi final spot in this ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
The Pakistani bowlers repeated their show against Sri Lanka too, after crushing down the South Africans the Pakistanis were on the charge in this do or die game.
In this all important match Pakistan won the toss and chose to bowl first.
This decision of captain Sarfraz Khan was supported well by the Pakistani bowlers.
The opening batsman of Sri Lanka, who played so well against India was out for just 13. Danushka Gunthalika couldn’t provide the start that Sri Lanka were looking for.
After Gunthalika’s wicket, Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis tried to re build the innings but Kusal Mendis was out for just 17 runs. then skipper Angelo Matthews joined Dickwella at the crease. Matthews and Dickwella’s build a partnership of 78 runs steadied the Lankan innings.
It was looking good when those two were batting. But things turned around after Matthews’s wicket.
Angelo Matthews was out on 39 and the partnership was broken by Mohd Amir.
Sri Lankan innings collapsed and Pakistani bowlers seized this opportunity. The Lankans lost wickets at regular intervals.
Dhanjaya De Silva was the first to get out after the wicket of Angelo Matthews. De silva scored a duck.
Niroshan Dickwella batted beautifully till the time he got out for 73 runs. Sri Lanka needed Dickwella to bat out the 50 overs but Dickwella couldn’t handle this pressure situation.
Tishara Perera had an off day, with the bat he scored only 1 run and with the ball he managed to pick up only 1 wicket.
Suranga Lakmal showed his batting class. That was a surprise in that Lankan innings. Lakmal and Asela Gunaratne shared a partnership of 46 runs that allowed Sri Lanka to score a decent total on the scoreboard.
After Lakamal was dismissed for 26, Gunaratne too couldn’t bat till the end. He wanted some quick runs but he managed to get out on 27.
All was left to the senior pro Lasith malinga to bat till the end. Unfortunately Nuwan Pradeep gives an easy return to Fahim Ashraf on his own bowling.
Pakistan bowlers did a great job. Their fielding in this match was also creditable. Sarfarz Ahmed’s captaincy was also brilliant for them.
Due to good bowling, fielding and captaincy Sri Lankans were bowled out for a modest score of 236 in 49.2 overs.
Mohd Amir and Fahim Ashraf picked up 2 wickets and Junaid Khan and Hasan Ali picked up 3 wickets each.
Pakistani batsmen started off well while chasing a modest total of 237 for victory.
Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman got Pakistan to a flying start.
The openers added 74 runs in no time. Sri Lankan bowlers were in pressure from ball 1.
Fakhar Zaman’s explosive batting was a real treat to watch.
Azhar Ali was finding his touch but he too was underway in a flash.
Fakhar Zaman scored his maiden fifty in ODI cricket. He played a role of aggressor in that 74 run partnership.
After reaching his fifty soon he got out, Lakmal gave Sri Lanka a vital breakthrough.
This wicket allowed flurry of wickets for Sri Lanka.
After Fakhar Zaman got out, Babar Azam could score much. He was dismissed early for just 10 runs.
In the next over Mohd Hafeez too was gone for 1.
Pakistan needed their senior most player to tackle this situation but he too failed to deliver. Shoaib Malik was also dismissed for 11 runs.
Pakistan was in a spot of brother, they lost wickets in hurry.
But the Skipper Sarfarz soaked in the pressure well. He batted through the innings. Imad Wassim and Fahim Ashraf too couldn’t stay a long with the skipper, who was at the other end. They were out for just 4 and 11 respectively.
Then Sarfaraz anchored this unbeaten partnership with Mohd Amir.
Amir showed his class with the bat. He and captain put on unbeaten stand of 75 run to take their team through.
Sarfraz was not out on 61 runs and he was well supported by Mohd Amir with unbeaten 28.
Pakistan won this game by 3 wickets.
Pakistan make to the semis and Sri Lanka will go home.
Sri Lankan bowlers weren’t good enough. They had their chances to win this game but they were sloppy.
Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal and Tishara Perera picked up 1 wicket each.
The most successful bowler for the Lankans was Nuvan Pradeep. He ended with figures of 3 wickets for 60 runs.
Man of the match was awarded to Srafraz Ahmed for his brilliant knock of 61 not out.