Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki set to return to 2024 Australian Open


HYDERABAD: Mohammad Rizwan and opening batter Abdullah Shafique hit centuries Tuesday as Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in a record run-chase at the Cricket World Cup.

Chasing a target of 345, Rizwan played with a pulled right calf and scored an unbeaten 131 off 121 balls. Shafique, replacing out-of-form Fakhar Zaman, scored 113 to help Pakistan reach 345-4 in 48.2 overs.

Pakistan stretched their World Cup record against Sri Lanka to 8-0 and have four points from two victories. Pakistan have beaten both the qualifiers — the Netherlands and Sri Lanka — going into the marquee game against rival India in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

“Always proud when you perform like that,” Rizwan said after a knock which featured eight fours and three sixes. “It was difficult and when you chase like that, it’s always special. Every player in the dressing room had the belief we can chase that.”

Sri Lanka have had plenty of bowling problems at the World Cup in the absence of injured star legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga. The team also lost their opening game against South Africa, which scored 428 runs against the Sri Lankans.

Pakistan’s big chase surpassed Ireland’s previous Cricket World Cup record when it made 329-7 to beat England in 2011.

The hundreds from Shafique, who hit 10 fours and three sixes, and Rizwan overshadowed Kusal Mendis’ 77-ball 122 and Sadeera Samarawickrama’s 108 — maiden ODI hundreds that pushed Sri Lanka’s total to 344-9 on a day when bowlers got walloped from both sides on a perfect batting pitch.

Mendis and Samarawickrama showed plenty of aggression in the middle overs with a 111-run third-wicket stand off 69 balls, hitting 25 fours and eight sixes in between them.

Mendis capitalized on two early dropped catches inside the powerplay when first off-color Shaheen Afridi (1-66) couldn’t hold onto a sharp return catch and Imam-ul-Haq dropped a sharp chance at point. Mendis hit 14 fours and six sixes, including a flicked six over midwicket against Pakistan’s best bowler of the day — Hasan Ali (4-71) — that brought up his century off 65 balls. Samarawickrama took charge after Mendis holed out to a well-judged catch by Imam at mid-wicket fence. Pakistan pulled back in the final 10 overs despite Samrawickrama raising his century with Haris Rauf (2-64) picking up both his wickets in the final over.

“We should’ve finished stronger in the end,” Sri Lanka captain Shanaka said. “The way the wicket behaved, we were 20-25 runs short. … I can’t ask too much from the bowlers.”

Pakistan had a sluggish start to the chase when Dilshan Madushanka got the key wickets in the powerplay as Imam pulled to fine leg and captain Babar Azam (10) edged a leg side flick to the wicketkeeper.

Shafique and Rizwan then began Pakistan’s second highest ever run-chase in an ODI as Sri Lankan bowlers like Matheesha Pathirana sprayed plenty of wayward deliveries with his slingy action to end up with 1-90.

In the earlier game in Dharamsala, Dawid Malan’s century set up England’s first win when the beat Bangladesh by 137 runs.

Malan scored 140 off 107 balls — his fifth ODI hundred — as England reached 364-9 to bounce back from losing to New Zealand in the tournament opener. Left-arm pacer Reece Topley returned figures of 4-43 as England bowled out Bangladesh for 227 in 48.2 overs.

It was England’s fourth biggest win by runs in World Cup history.

Put in to bat, England made a strong start as Malan and Jonny Bairstow (52) shared 115 runs for the first wicket. Shakib Al Hasan bowled Bairstow, but Malan and Joe Root added 151 runs for the second wicket.

Malan hit 16 fours and five sixes overall, and reached his hundred off 91 balls. After the landmark, he cut loose to score 40 off only 16 balls, hitting four fours and three sixes.

“It was fantastic to put in a performance like this and win a game (for the team). Hopefully my form will continue ahead,” Malan said. “With Root at three, it allows us to play freely. I am desperate to do well in this format and prove a point.” Root also scored quickly, reaching 50 off 44 balls. Overall, he hit 82 off 68 balls, including eight fours and a six, as he continues to rediscover his form.

England lost their way a bit in the last phase of the innings. After Malan’s dismissal, the English went from 296-2 to 307-5, losing Root and Jos Buttler (20). Liam Livingstone, who has a good IPL record at the stadium, was bowled for a golden duck. Harry Brook (20) guided the score past 350 along with the lower middle-order.

Leave a Comment