About the Match
Pakistan clinched the ODI series 3-1 as they defeated Sri Lanka in the 4th ODI on Wednesday by 8 wickets; set with a target of 226 runs, the Pakistani batsmen smashed away fours and sixes to achieve this total with more than 8 overs to spare in a smooth and convincing win. With the title to their name already, the 5th ODI remains only as a formality between the two nations, however, Sri Lanka would be eager to win the final match and have something to cheer about before the Test series begins. It needs to be seen if the Lankans will be able to overcome the many challenges that the Pakistani team poses or will they fall short in meeting their own expectations.
The brilliant bowling by Umar Gul demolished the Lankan top order as he claimed 3 early wickets; this was followed by a superb spell by Saeed Ajmal, who took 4 wickets to dismiss the middle order and lower order batsmen and Junaid Khan’s 2 crucial wickets saw to it that the Lankans were denied any chance to score big runs. Faced with a meagre total of 226 runs, the batsmen looked hungry to win the series; Mohammad Hafeez’s unbeaten 113 off 119 deliveries along with great support from Ahmed Shehzad who scored 44 runs and Maqsood’s 46 runs, took the team to a big win that they truly deserved. While the excellent bowling performance restricted Sri Lanka to a low total, the batsmen showed off their prowess by reaching the target by the 42nd over itself. This series win has given the team a huge morale boost and they will now look to annihilate the Lankans in the final ODI as well.
Opting to bat first, the Lankans were in dire straits at 36-3 by the 8th over itself and the batsmen struggled to face the Pakistani speedsters. While Sangakkara got his half-century and posted a 89-run partnership with the debutante Priyanjan, who scored a brilliant 74 runs off 93 deliveries, he couldn’t steady his innings and got run-out in the 29th over. Subsequently, Priyanjan and Matthews tried their best to re-build the innings but in vain. The batsmen couldn’t handle the spin attack by Ajmal and succumbed to pressure, mustering up only 225 runs before they were all-out in the 49th over. The bowlers lacked precision and failed to make any dent on the opponent’s batting line-up. Except for Lakmal and Matthews, who got a wicket each, none of the others found success and the match was over in the 42nd over itself. The team will be eager to avenge its humiliation and will give its best to win the final match, even though they have already lost the series.
Pakistan has peaked at the right moment and their performances with both bat and ball are exemplary; on the other hand Sri Lanka has been struggling to give its best and is still trying to adjust to the conditions here. While the Lankans have the resources to do well, Pakistan is on a winning roll and is unlikely to be defeated in the final match of the series that they have already won.
Pakistan, 1.91 @ William Hill