Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka ended with Pakistan prevailing in a thriller after overcoming the initial stutters. Wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed stayed unbeaten until the end to see his side through. Pakistan chased down the target of 237, with just three wickets in hand. With exactly a hundred runs needed, Pakistan lost its sixth wicket and started looking down the barrel. But Sarfaraz had other ideas and played sensibly with Fahim Ashraf and Mohammad Amir. The latter played well and gave an able company to his partner.
Earlier, Sri Lanka was bundled out for 236 after a slow start. A good partnership between Dickwella and Mathews changed the tide for the Islanders before the former was dismissed after a well-made half-century. That initiated the collapse and the Lankans struggled to score with the Pakistani pacers wrecking havoc. Junaid Khan and Hasan Ali were the picks of the bowlers claiming three wickets apiece.
Here are five talking points of the match
Dickwella shows promise
Opening the innings in a crunch match, Dickwella showed great character and scored a well-deserved half-century.
He was unfazed by the dismissal of his partner Gunathilaka and Chandimal and formed a couple of important partnerships – 56 runs with Kusal Mendis for the second wicket and 78 runs with skipper Mathews for the fourth wicket.
His 73 consisted of four boundaries and was strong through the leg-side.
Dickwella and Mathews’ partnership steadies the boat for Lanka
With the side struggling at 83 for 3 in a virtual quarter-final, skipper Mathews stepped up and formed a crucial fourth wicket partnership with Dickwella.
The former was aggressive whilst rotating the singles and found the boundaries of the loose deliveries. Mathews was the chief contributor with his 39 and helped in forming a 78-run partnership. His downfall brought the batting collapse for Sri Lanka.
Epic Collapse for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka were going well. They had scored at over 5 per over at the end of the 31st over. But the wicket of Mathews in the next over brought about a collapse for the Lankans. Pakistan managed to take four wickets, giving away just six runs in the process in a span of 22 deliveries.
Junaid Khan and Hasan Ali shared the exploits picking up two wickets apiece. The runs came slow and Sri Lanka could manage only 69 runs off their last 15 overs.
Good Start to the chase
Be it a small or a big target, the opening partnership plays a vital role. Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman played some brilliant cricket and gave Pakistan the start they needed in the big match. The latter especially was ruthless, smashing Malinga for three boundaries in the third over of the game.
The southpaw was aggressive and got to his half-century before being dismissed by Pradeep, ending a 74-run alliance for the first wicket, Ali played the second fiddle and took some time to settle in.
Sarfaraz and Amir win it for Pakistan
Sarfaraz Ahmed played a captain’s knock. Cometh the hour, Cometh the man. The Karachi player took matter into his own hands after seeing his sides getting tumbled. With a hundred runs needed, Sarfaraz Ahmed needed someone from the other end to give him proper support. After the dismissal of Ashraf, Amir came in, with Pakistan 75 runs short of the target.
The left-hander played sensibly and rotated the strike. Not many have the composure to do that, but the left-arm pacer did. Ahmed too, did the same and the duo’s 75-run stand ensured Pakistan qualified for the semi-finals, with the skipper hitting the winning runs.