Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 1st ODI: Maqsood and Alam guide Pakistan to incredible win

Maqsood was named Man of the Match for his match-winning and career-best knock of 89

Maqsood was named Man of the Match for his career-best knock of 89

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Pakistan’s batting duo of Shoaib Maqsood and Fawad Alam both scored half-centuries as they rescued their side from a precarious position and guided them to an incredible four-wicket win over Sri Lanka via the Duckworth-Lewis method in the first ODI in Hambantota.

While Maqsood and Alam stole the spotlight following their heroics with the bat, Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene and captain Angelo Mathews deserve a lot of credit as well as they both made valiant half-centuries.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq would have been delighted with his decision to bat first after Sri Lanka opening batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan was given out lbw off the bowling of Mohammad Irfan for six runs.

Dilshan decided to review the decision, but the replays showed that the ball was just pitching in line and going on to hit the stumps, which led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.

Just a short while after Dilshan’s dismissal, the heavens parted and the players were back in the pavilion.

Despite the rain only lasting for 30 minutes, the match was reduced to 45 overs per side.

However, the delay didn’t help Sri Lanka as Upul Tharanga was caught behind off the bowling of Wahab Riaz for 18.

Kumar Sangakkara managed to make 25 runs before he was caught by Ahmed Shehzad at point off the bowling of Mohammad Hafeez.

Dinesh Chandimal only made six runs before he was caught by Riaz off the bowling of Irfan.

Jayawardene and Mathews stabilised the innings with a 116-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Jayawardene was run out by wicketkeeper Umar Akmal for 63 off 66 balls, which included eight boundaries.

Jayawardene made a valiant 63

Jayawardene made a valiant 63

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Thisara Perera made 13 runs before he was cleaned up by Riaz.

Mathews went on to score 89 off 85 deliveries, which included nine boundaries and two sixes, before he was clean bowled by Riaz.

Mathews scored a gutsy 89 and took two wickets as well

Mathews scored a gutsy 89 and took two wickets as well

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Sri Lanka eventually finished on 275/7 off their 45 overs thanks to Ashan Priyanjan’s quickfire knock of 39.

Riaz was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Irfan snapped up two and Hafeez chipped in with one.

Chasing 275 to win, due to the Duckworth-Lewis method, Pakistan got off to a cautious start before Hafeez was given out lbw off the bowling of Mathews for 21.

Hafeez reviewed the decision immediately, but replays showed that the ball was clipping the top of the stumps, which led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.

Younis Khan only made three runs before he was caught by Nuwan Kulasekara at long leg off the bowling of Mathews.

Akmal scored 15 runs before he was caught by Lasith Malinga at mid-on off the bowling of Perera.

Ahmed Shehzad mustered 49 runs before he was clean bowled by Perera.

Ul-Haq failed to save his team as he was caught behind off the bowling of Rangana Herath for 13.

Maqsood and Alam took over from this point on as they amassed a vital 147-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Alam was caught by Priyanjan at third man off the bowling of Malinga.

Alam’s excellent knock of 62 came off 61 balls and included seven boundaries.

Alam hit seven boundaries during his crucial innings of 62

Alam hit seven boundaries during his crucial innings of 62

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Maqsood and Shahid Afridi mopped up the rest of the runs to carry Pakistan home with one ball to spare.

Maqsood’s career-best innings of 89 came off 73 balls and included nine boundaries, while Afridi remained undefeated on 14 off 10 deliveries, which included two boundaries.

Mathews and Perera took two wickets apiece, while Herath and Malinga claimed one wicket each.

Mathews was gutted to have lost the match, and said: “Good game, I thought the fifth wicket partnership with Maqsood and Alam won them the game but I also thought we didn’t make too many mistakes. The wicket played pretty well and more often than not when we score 250 plus the bowlers do the job. But, here the brilliance of Maqsood did it. We didn’t really make too many mistakes, but there was the stumping that we missed. Happy with my form, hopefully it can continue.”

Ul-Haq was pleased to have taken a 1-0 lead, and said: “Much needed win and really happy we chased this total, especially by two youngsters. One of the best partnerships I have ever seen. I think we lost our way in between after the first partnership. Good recovery by the two but this will also give the other batsmen confidence. I think the rules have been changed with four fielders in the deep and the last powerplay makes it really difficult to protect. This is how cricket is going on and when you are chasing 100 in last ten overs, it is possible. We are looking forward to not conceding so many in the next games. Irfan is our wicket-taking option and that’s why I use him at the top, because if the set batsman is there it will be really difficult to stop.”

Maqsood was named Man of the Match, and said: “Special knock, batting after a few months and getting off with a good innings is always good. Batting no.3 and four in the previous series, but this is a new series and whichever [position I bat in] is good for the country. Planning was simple, he [Alam] was a rotator and I was aggressive. The plan was not to lose wickets and we had to target the bowlers, even in Malinga’s eight overs. I would take it as the best innings of my career.”

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