DAMBULLA: Mohammad Hafeez came up with a fine all-round performance to help Pakistan defeat Sri Lanka by six wickets in the first one-day international at the Rangiri Dambulla Stadium on Saturday and take a one-nil lead in the five-match series.
Hafeez followed his four wickets for 41 by scoring his tenth ODI hundred – his first in 19 months to guide Pakistan to this comfortable win. His outstanding performance won him the Man of the Match award.
Hafeez’s century which was made off 95 balls with the aid of four sixes and ten fours simply took the game away from Sri Lanka who was able to score only 255-8 after being asked to bat first.
Pakistan finished on 259-4 with 28 balls to spare. Shoaib Malik got them across the line with a six off Tillakaratne Dilshan that also brought up his half-century off 45 balls with four fours and two sixes.
Mohammad Rizwan was the other batsman with him on 20 not out in an unbroken partnership of 61 when victory was achieved.
Sri Lanka’s bowling lacked the penetration to defend their moderate total – moderate in the sense that such totals are no longer match-winning ones in an era when scores over 300 are even in danger of being overhauled.
Pakistan lost both openers Azhar Ali (21) and Ahmed Shehzad (29) for 65, but Hafeez closed up one end ensured that Sri Lanka did not pick up wickets regularly.
It was Hafeez’s partnership with Shoaib Malik – 75 off 69 balls that sealed Sri Lanka’s fate as it brought the required rate down to a gettable proportion of around five plus an over.
On Hafeez’s part it was creditable for him to play a match-winning knock for his team despite the setbacks he has suffered recently over his bowling action.
After he had settled down he simply could not be curbed as he went for his shots.
None of the Lankan batsmen were able to emulate him although the top five in the batting all got starts but failed to convert them into big ones.
Dinesh Chandimal top scored with an undefeated 65 off 68 balls but he had to mostly bat with the tail.
K Perera c Rizwan b Hafeez 26
T Dilshan b Hafeez 38
L Thirimanne c Sarfraz b Anwar 23
U Tharanga st Sarfraz b Hafeez 20
A Mathews c Azam b Yasir 38
D Chandimal not out 65
T Perera c Rizwan b Hafeez 1
M Siriwardana c Rizwan b Rahat 22
S Prasanna c Hafeez b Rahat 0
L Malinga not out 4
Extras (b-4, lb-7, nb-1, w-6) 18
Total (8 wickets, 50 overs) 255
Did not bat: S Lakmal
Fall of wickets: 1-44 (K Perera), 2-82 (Thirimanne), 3-111 (Tharanga), 4-118 (Dilshan), 5-200 (Mathews), 6-204 (T Perera), 7-244 (Siriwardana), 8-245 (Prasanna).
Bowling: Irfan 10-0-41-0 (nb1, w1), Rahat 8-0-44-2 (w1), Anwar 7-0-38-1, Hafeez 10-1-41-4 (w1), Yasir 10-0-46-1, Malik 5-0-34-0 (w3).
Azhar Ali c Chandimal b Mathews 21
Ahmed Shehzad c Chandimal b Lakmal 29
Mohammad Hafeez c and b T Perera 103
Babar Azam lbw b Dilshan 25
Shoaib Malik not out 55
Mohammad Rizwan not out 20
Extras (lb-1, w-5) 6
Total (4 wickets, 45.2 overs) 259
Fall of wickets: 1-47 (Azhar), 2-65 (Shehzad), 3-123 (Babar), 4-198 (Hafeez).
Did not bat: Sarfraz Ahmed, Anwar Ali, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan.
Bowling: Malinga 8-0-56-0 (w5), Lakmal 5-1-21-1, T Perera 8-0-32-1, Mathews 5-0-22-1, Prasanna 9-0-72-0, Dilshan 8.2-0-45-1, Siriwardana 2-0-10-0.