Sri Lanka defeat Pakistan by 2 wickets to level ODI series 1-1
Pallekele: Srilanka Team: Dinesh Chandimal struck unbeaten 48 to guide Sri Lanka to a series of two wicket victory over Pakistan leveling in the second one-day international in Pallekele Wednesday.
Chasing Pakistan’s challenging 287-8, 159-5 the hosts recovered to post 288-8 with 11 balls to spare in a tense finish for the day-night match.
Chandimal led the response by adding 37 for the sixth wicket with Milinda Siriwardana (26), 52 for the seventh with debutant Sachith Pathirana (33) and 37 for the eighth with Thisara Perera.
Perera was eighth when three other tests were required for victory but Lasith Malinga kept his cool amid mounting tensions before Chandimal hit the winning run.
Pakistan won the first match in Dambulla by six wickets on Saturday to take the lead in the five-match series.
Ranking ninth in Pakistan need a win in the series to stay in contention for a place in the eight-nation Champions Trophy in England in 2017.
Sri Lanka, currently ranked fifth, are sure to take part in the tournament.
Open Kusal Perera gave Sri Lanka a happy beginning with a breeze off 68 balls that included 25 boundaries and two sixes 13.
The lefty-50 ran off just 17 balls, just a short record of delivery to match South Africa AB de Villiers’ for the fastest half-century in 16 balls.
Kusal equaled his compatriot and idol Sanath Jayasuriya’s feat with a 17-ball 50 as he put on 92 for the first wicket with Tillakaratne Dilshan off just 8.2 overs.
Dilshan’s 47 to Sri Lanka to a commanding 140-1 in the 19th over when Pakistan hit back with four wickets for 19 runs, three of them in successive overs in the space of four points.
Angelo Mathews Sri Lankan captain said he was relieved to win after his botched the capture Pakistan team that we won.
“Both teams made a real game out of it,” Mathews said. “Kusal and Dilshan gave a very good start, but I thought Chandimal was brilliant with how he pulled through others.
“Our bad commissioning display was embarrassing, to be honest, but we tried to put behind us when we hit.”
Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali said Kusal Perera took the game away from his team early.
“I thought we had a decent total on the board, but the first 10 overs were crucial,” he said. “It was difficult to come back after the way Kusal Perera batted, but I am proud of my team to fight back.
“When we took five wickets we needed to take a little faster, but could not. The series is open and I am confident that we will come back strongly in the next game.”
The Pakistan innings revolved around three half-centuries, including a 52 off 38 balls by Mohammad Rizwan late which boosted the total.
Azhar played a captain’s innings of 79 and main pro Shoaib Malik made a run-a-ball 51, the pair adding 83 for the fourth wicket after the tourists won the toss and chose to bat.
But Rizwan stole the show with five boundaries and six tourists plundered 88 runs in the last 10 acquisitions.
Anwar Ali, who put on 56 for the seventh wicket with Rizwan, returned unbeaten on 29 off 20 balls.
The third match will be played at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday.