HYDERABAD: Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan struck gutsy centuries to power Pakistan to pull off the highest World Cup run-chase in the eighth match of the ICC World Cup 2023 on Tuesday.
Set to chase a daunting 345, Pakistan knocked off the winning runs with 10 balls to spare to hand Sri Lanka a six-wicket defeat, their second in the tournament.
Pakistan, however, had a contrasting start to the pursuit as they had slipped to 37/2 in the eighth over as opening batter Imam-ul-Haq (12) and captain Babar Azam (10) failed to score big.
Following the slump, Mohammad Rizwan joined Abdullah Shafique in the middle and the pair launched an astounding recovery.
They batted sensibly over the course of their marathon partnership which saw them adding 176 runs to the total with Abdullah scoring his maiden ODI century.
Matheesha Pathirana then finally broke the shackles for Sri Lanka when he got rid of the danger man Abdullah Shafique, courtesy of a stunning catch by substitute Dushan Hemantha.
He scored 113 in 103 deliveries, laced up with 10 boundaries and three sixes.
Mohammad Rizwan then took the reigns of Pakistan run chase and he stitched a crucial 95-run partnership with Saud Shakeel, who scored a 30-ball 31 before perishing in the 45th over.
Rizwan held his ground firm and hit the winning runs for Pakistan in the penultimate over after notable support from Iftikhar Ahmed, who remained unbeaten on 22 in just 10 balls.
Mohammad Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan in their second ICC World Cup 2023 fixture with an unbeaten 131 in 121 deliveries, smashing eight boundaries and three sixes.
Dilshan Madushanka led the bowling attack for Sri Lanka with 2/60 while Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana struck out a batter apiece.
Opting to bat first, Sri Lankan batters justified their captain’s decision by dominating the struggling Pakistan bowling attack to set a massive total, courtesy of Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama’s centuries.
Earlier, Sri Lanka got off to a poor start to their innings as opening batter Kusal Perera fell for a four-ball duck in the second over with just five runs on the board.
Following an early blow, Kusal Mendis joined Pathum Nissanka in the middle and put together an anchoring 102-run stand which lasted in the 18th over when Shadab Khan got rid of the latter.
Nissanka struck seven boundaries and a six on his way to a 61-ball 51.
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Mendis was then involved in yet another century-plus partnership when he stitched 111 runs for the third wicket with Sadeera Samarawickrama before finally perishing in the 29th over.
He top-scored for Sri Lanka with a quickfire 122 in just 77 deliveries, laced up with 14 boundaries and six sixes.
Following his departure, Samarawickrama took the reigns of Sri Lanka’s batting charge and put on brief yet crucial partnerships with Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva and Dasun Shanaka before finally perishing in the 48th over.
Samarawickrama smashed 11 boundaries and two sixes on his way to an 89-ball 108.
Pakistan bowlers recollected themselves after Samarawickrama’s dismissal and made a late comeback to stop the flow of runs but Sri Lanka still managed to set a daunting target for Babar Azam’s side.
Hasan Ali led the bowling attack for Pakistan with four wickets but was expensive as he leaked 71 runs in his 10 overs while Haris Rauf bagged two.
Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz and Shaheen Shah Afridi, on the other hand, made one scalp each.