By Srian Obeyesekere
Sri Lanka was beaten by Pakistan by 6 wickets with ten balls to spare in a record highest World Cup chase despite scoring 344 on the brilliance of Kusal Mendis’ 77 ball 122 by Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama 108 off 89 mainly due to a wanting bowling attack that has been a major drawback in their world cup campaign yesterday on a batting friendly wicket at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium where in the end the rest of the Lankan batsmen failed in capitalising on the early gung ho of adding a further 30 to 40 runs.
The defeat was to negate Mendis’s terrific effort tucked with as many as 6 sixes and 14 boundaries in the wake of his 42-ball 76 against South Africa and as much Samarawickrama’s that went out of the window in the face of a wilting Sri Lankan attack with the exception of Dilshan Madushanka who made early inroads accounting for Imam-ul-Haq for 12 and Babar Azam 10 on which the Lankan bowlers failed to capitalise as Pakistan broke free with Mohammad Rizwan clobbering an unbeaten Player of the Match 131 off 121 balls inclusive of 8 boundaries and 3 sixes and opening batsman Abdullah Shafique 113 off 103 with 10 boundaries and 3 sixes. The duo brought back Pakistan to the game and the final outcome by sharing in a 176-run stand for the third wicket.
Where the Lankan batsmen fell back was in the final 10 overs that fetched 61 runs and just 13 in the last 3 overs on a day once again Kusal Janith Perera failed with the bat falling for a fourth ball duck and Charith Asalanka , top scorer against South Africa for a third ball 1. Dhananjaya de Silva scored 25 off 34 and skipper Dasun Shanaka went for 12 off 18 while Dunith Wellalage again failed exiting for 10 off 8 which were setbacks that brought to naught the Mendis-Samarawickrama efforts following 51 off 61 by Pathum Nissanka with 7 boundaries and a six. Mendis, who has brought his former batting best to the world cup by a run tempo that has set him apart, added 102 for the second wicket with Pathum Nissanka and followed it up with a 111-run third wicket partnership with Samarawickrama.
The stark difference between the two sides in the bowling departments was best reflected by the wicket taking efforts of Hasan Ali 4 for 71 and Haris Rauf 2 for 64.
Sri Lanka 344 (50 Overs) RR: 6.88
(Kusal Menis 122, Sadeera Samarawickrama 108, Pathum Nissanka 51, Dhananjaya de Silva 25, Dasun Shanaka 12, Dunith Wellalage 10, Hasan Ali 4/71, Haris Rauf 2/64, Shadab Khan 1/55, Mohammad Nawaz 1/62, Shaheen Shah Afridi 1/66)
Pakistan 345/4 (48.2 Overs) RR: 7.13
(Mohammad Rizwan n.o. 131, Abdullah Shafique 113, Saud Shakeel 31, Ifthikar Ahmed n.o. 22, Dilshan Madushanka 2/60, Maheesh Theekshana 1/59, Matheesha Pathirana 1/90)