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Four hundreds punctuated a high-scoring World Cup 2023 game but it was Pakistan who came away trumps against Sri Lanka in Hyderabad.
Pakistan took advantage of Sri Lanka’s lacklustre bowling and an easing surface to chase down a record total with enough fuel left in the tank.
After Sri Lanka had won the toss and piled up 345 from their 50 overs, it looked like they were on their way to registering their first win of the tournament.
Backed by a dazzling knock off Kusal Mendis’ bat, the tournament’s second-quickest century – a 77-ball 122 – Sri Lanka looked like they would get to even 375 at one stage.
Especially when Sadar Samarawickrama also joined in the party and helped himself to a century.
💯 Two centurions for Sri Lanka
⭐ Pakistan require record chase
— ICC Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) October 10, 2023
However, a solid Hasan Ali spell in the final 10 overs of the Sri Lankan innings restricted them to 345. Hasan ended with figures of 4/71 that proved to be the difference in the end.
Because as the pitch eased out under the lights, Pakistan raced away to the target in clinical fashion to triumph by six wickets and with 10 balls to spare.
This was possible thanks to a brilliant, unbeaten century from the bat of Mohammad Rizwan who ended unbeaten on 134 from 121 balls. He had Abdullah Shafique for company for most part of that with the Pakistani opener also helping himself to a century.
Pakistan’s chase saw them lose Imam-ul-Haq for 12 and when captain Babar Azam also tickled one from Dilshan Madushanka down to the keeper, it looked like Sri Lanka had the match in their grasp.
All of that changed with Shafique and Rizwan’s approach who were happy to first absorb all the pressure and only then slowly pushed further.
After 10 overs, Pakistan had only 48 on the board. They had pushed their run-rate up to 5.5 after 20, and after the 30th over, they had hit a rate of six an over.
A 19-run 32nd over turned the match totally in their favour and while Shafique departed soon after getting to his century, Rizwan wasn’t done that.
In partnership with Saud Shakeel, Rizwan added another 95 runs for the fourth wicket in just 68 balls to put the final nail in the opposition coffins.
Rizwan ended up as the man of the match.
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