Sri Lanka fell to their second loss of the series as they failed to chase down a target of 220, making an meal of what should have been an easy victory.
The visitors repeated the same mistakes when it came it to their batting, costing them the match. Pakistan faltered in their batting too but were saved by Azam who scored his second century of the series. By the end, Sri Lanka were 32 runs short of what they needed.
Pakistan successfully took a 2-0 lead in the series and winning the next match means winning the series. Can the Sri Lankans stop them?
Upul Tharanga (c), Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana, Chamara Kapugedera, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Gamage
Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees, Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Usman Khan
Where the Teams Stand
Sri Lanka fell to 79-5 in their chance to bat, replicating the 67-5 from the first ODI as they got off to yet another horrendous start. Tharanga batted valiantly through to the end, reaching his century, but even he seemed to have given up by the last eight overs. He scored 112 of the 187 that Sri Lanka managed, and that alone speaks volumes of how bad the Lankans were. Once again.
The Lankan bowlers did well to restrict Pakistan to 219 in what was a disciplined effort by their attack. Gamage, the late inductee in the squad, took four wickets to justify his place. Perera did well to take two wickets and remained economic, conceding 34 runs only. Pakistan were 101-6, and the bowlers could have wrapped them up for much less than 219, but Shadab Khan frustrated them and helped his side to a total that ultimately proved to be too much for the Lankans.
Compared to the first encounter, the two teams were a lot more evenly matched, and the gap bridging is a positive sign for the Lankans. However, they have little time to capitalise on it as the third ODI is only two days after the second one. Their batsmen have been a colossal disappointment in both matches so far, and with some improvement, the third ODI might be the one where they finally win.
Kudos to Pakistan for defending a low score in unfavourable conditions. The dew set in after around 30 overs, but the pitch became tougher to bat on and the outfield was no longer conducive to ground strokes. Sarfraz’s foresight regarding this is a major tactical victory over his opponents. He won the toss and batted first, knowing the way things would progress, and he was rewarded for it.
His tactical victory does not overshadow his batting misery in the series so far as he got out cheaply yet again after struggling in the Tests. Shadab Khan was undoubtedly the difference between the two sides. His 52 at number 8 saved the Pakistanis. He also took three wickets with the ball, casting his name amongst the list of up-and-coming youngsters to watch out for. Only one boundary came in his innings of 52, proof of his grit and skill with the bat.
The second ODI could easily have gone Sri Lanka’s way, and next time it might if Pakistan does not rectify their mistakes, which are the same as Sri Lanka’s for the second ODI. The batting is a key area of contention, and whoever can improve more will come out on top in the third ODI
Sri Lanka win.
Can Sri Lanka fight their way back into the series, or will Pakistan take an unassailable lead? Let us know in the comments below.
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