Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Sri Lanka levelled the series at 1-1
Sri Lanka were able to skirt past Pakistan in the second ODI in Dubai and level the series at 1-1 thanks to a fantastic all-round team effort.
Despite losing the match, Pakistan opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad deserves a lot of credit as well as he smashed a sparkling century.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews won the toss and chose to bowl first.
His decision to do so paid off almost immediately as Pakistan opening batsman Sharjeel Khan was given out lbw off the bowling of Lasith Malinga for seven.
Khan reviewed the decision right away, but replays showed that the ball had hit his pads before the bat and this led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.
Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez made up for the early loss of Khan with a brilliant 76-run partnership before Hafeez was run out for 32.
Shoaib Maqsood managed to score 18 runs before being caught by Dinesh Chandimal at cow corner off the bowling of Seekkuge Prasanna.
Shehzad and Misbah-ul-Haq stabilised the innings with an outstanding 105-run partnership, during which Shehzad brought up his fourth ODI century, before being given out lbw off the bowling of Nuwan Kulasekara for 124.
Shehzad’s stellar knock of 124 is his highest ODI score and came off 140 balls, which included eight boundaries.
Ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi kept the runs flowing with an unbeaten 51-run partnership, during which ul-Haq registered his half-century, to take Pakistan to 284/4 at the end of their 50 overs.
Ul-Haq finished on 59 off 62 balls, which included two boundaries and a six, while Afridi remained undefeated on 30 off just 15 deliveries, which included one boundary and two sixes.
Kulasekara, Malinga and Prasanna all picked up one wicket apiece.
Chasing 285 to level the series, Sri Lanka got off to a solid start as their opening pair of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kusal Perera amassed a 49-run partnership before Perera was run out for 16.
Dilshan managed to score 40 runs before being run out as well.
Kumar Sangakkara and Chandimal steadied the innings with an excellent 94-run partnership, during which Sangakkara brought up his half-century, before he was clean bowled by Saeed Ajmal for 58 off 67 balls, which included four boundaries and a six.
Chandimal failed to last much longer as he too was clean bowled, but only off the bowling of Junaid Khan for 44.
Khan struck again in his next over as he shattered Thisara Perera’s stumps to put Pakistan back on top.
Mathews and Kulasekara stemmed the bleeding with a vital 57-run partnership before Kulasekara was stumped by Umar Akmal off the bowling of Afridi for 32.
Prasanna was on his way back to the pavilion the very next over as he was cleaned up to become Khan’s third victim of the day.
With Sri Lanka requiring just four runs to win off the last over, they got off to a dreadful start as Mathews was caught by Shehzad at midwicket off the bowling of Afridi for 47.
Mathews’ game-saving innings of 47 came off 44 deliveries and included two boundaries.
However, despite the dismissal of Mathews, Sri Lanka managed to cross the finish line with two balls to spare.
Khan was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with three wickets, while Afridi snapped up two and Ajmal chipped in with one.