About the Match
Pakistan took the lead 2-1 in this 5-match ODI series against Sri Lanka by defeating them by a massive 113 runs on Sunday. The upcoming 4th ODI on Christmas day will be crucial for Sri Lanka and will look to level with Pakistan, whereas the latter will be eager to win this match with eyes on the title. It will be an exciting round as both teams will come out all guns blazing and will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to seize the day.
Mohammad Hafeez strode to glory, scoring his career’s biggest total of an unbeaten 140 runs off 136 deliveries and scripted the Pakistan victory by 113 runs. His remarkable batting prowess built a strong foundation for the team and he partnered with Ahmed Shehzad to post 160 runs for the 2nd wicket. The duo took charge after the opener Sharjeel Khan got out in the 3rd over with Shehzad posting 81 runs off 89 balls and giving great support to the classy Hafeez. Later on, Misbah contributed 40 runs alongside Hafeez and made sure the team reaches a good total. With 326 runs on board, the bowlers were comfortable defending their score and executed in style. Umar Gul struck early on and took 3 wickets giving away just 19 runs; Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal and Hafeez claimed 2 wickets each at regular intervals and Afridi bowled out Dilshan, who was starting to look dangerous. It was a collective effort that saw them demolishing the Sri Lankan batting line-up thus winning the match by a huge margin. The players are eager to win the next match and take home the title and they look confident to do so.
Malinga had dropped Hafeez’s catch in early on in the 1st innings and this cost the team heavily as they were outplayed by the Pakistanis in the 3rd ODI match. Faced with a target of 327 runs, the batsmen struggled to keep the scoreboard ticking; except for Dilshan who posted 59 runs, the rest of the top order collapsed and with 44-3, the Sri Lankans were in dire straits. Chandimal tried to build the chase with Dilshan but fell after scoring 36 runs and then it was Matthews who took charge. However, after a spirited effort, he too fell after scoring 44 runs and then it was a downwards slide for the team who were all out for 213 runs in the 45th over itself. The bowlers weren’t effective and gave away too many runs to the opposition, making it that much more difficult for the batsmen to reach the target. They need to win the upcoming match if they want to keep their hopes alive here.
Pakistan has put up a stupendous performance so far and is looking well placed to repeat their brilliance in all departments of the game; on the other hand Sri Lanka will be waiting to avenge their defeat in the previous match and will try their best to keep the series alive till the final match. However, with a superior bowling attack and a welcome revival on the batting front, Pakistan looks more confident than its opponent to win the match and series on Wednesday.
Pakistan, 1.91 @ William Hill