The action now moved to Sharjah and the match began on 3:00 PM instead of 4:00 PM due to the significant dew later in the evening in the previous match.
Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first.
PLAYING XI OF PAKISTAN
Sarfraz Ahmed (Captain, Wicket-Keeper), Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Junaid Khan, Babar Azam, Imad Wasim, Hassan Ali, Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Usman Shinwari and Imam Ul Haq.
PLAYING XI OF SRI LANKA
Upul Tharanga (Captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Thisara Perera, Niroshan Dickwella (Wicket-Keeper), Lahiru Thirimanne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Milinda Siriwardana, Seekkuge Prasanna, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Gamage and Suranga Lakmal.
Dew is the prime concern for the team bowling second which is why the teams look to bat first and set a target on the board. Like any other UAE wicket, Sharjah pitch is likely to favor the slow bowlers.
The match started and Junaid Khan bowled the first over giving away just a single. On the very second ball of the second over which was bowled by the debutant Usman Shinwari, got the big wicket of the skipper, Upul Tharanga. Upul went for a duck. SL were 2-1.
The quick and without scoring wicket of the Captain didn’t controlled Dickwella. The Sri Lankans still played very well with the thrashing of Niroshan, they had their 50 up in just 8 overs. Dickwella was striking every ball he was fronting, it didn’t trouble him if it was to be a good delivery. The entertainment was ruined shortly. He was out notching 22 of just 16. JK got the second wicket. SL were 30-2.
Chandimal, the test skipper, played like it was a five day match. He too got out premature just 16 of 22. He got run out by the 12th man, Ahmed Shezhad. 59-3 SL. Sadeera got out in the same over on a duck. The second duck of the match. He was bowled out by Imad Wasim. The match went slow as the Lankans lost 4 early and vital wickets. SL were 59-4 now.
The Pakistani bowlers were bowling stunningly and rather one more beauty was done by the Generator Guy, Hassan Ali. Ali bowled to Siriwardana and Siriwardana got caught by the debutant Usman Khan Shinwari scoring just 13 of 32 balls! Ali got his first wicket of the fourth ODI. On just 91 half of the team reverted back to pavilion. SL now were 91-5.
Concerning all of these fall of wickets, one man stood like a rock practically till the end and it was none other than Lahiru Thirimanne. He kept hammering, he kept struggling and batted vividly and gave his 100% for a valued target. He could have done it but he didn’t get any sustenance by his team companions.
Prasanna who just got back into the playing XI just reimbursed to the dugout with scoring just 5 runs. He was deceived by the leggie, Shadab Khan. SL now stands 99-6.
The danger man, Thisara Perera went for a golden duck just after Shadab bowled Prasanna. Shadab has his second. SL were 99-7. Thirimanne is still on the crease and is struggling against the odds. Akila too got out early scoring just 18 of 37. SL are 142-8.The strong guy, who stood bravely and delivered his best, Lahiru Thirimanne scored his fifty and resumed to the pavilion with his head held high. He scored the best runs in the innings (64). The wicket was taken by Imad Wasim. Wasim has his second and Lankans are 164-9. The last wicket fell and it was the wicket of Gamage, scoring just 1 of 8. He got out on the ball of Hassan Ali. Hassan has his third.
The target is not invulnerable but the Lankans will surely put up a great show. Lahiru Thirimanne was the best with the notching 64 of 94 balls. Hassan Ali was the best bowler of the innings with taking another 3 wicket haul giving away just 37 runs. Sri Lanka positioned up a target of just 174 in 50 overs.
Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul Haq opened for Pakistan. All eyes were on Imam because of his 100 in the previous match. Everyone wished to watch him score big again. But all wishes don’t come true, Imam was sent back to the dugout by the very treacherous Lahiru Gamage on just 2 runs. Pakistan 12-1.
Fakhar and Babar continued to score. Fakhar had a slow start nonetheless he soon found a way to do something valued and two back to back fours did it for him. Fakhar was rapidly out of the story as he got hoodwinked by the spin of Dananjaya and got stumped by Dickwella on just 17 of 30 balls. Pak now 37-2.
It was the time of the Professor, the Professor whose bowling action was again found illegal by the ICC. Pakistanis were hoping for him to be there for a long time, surely Hafeez hoped that too. Sometimes things don’t go to our plans. Same happened to Hafeez, it didn’t went his way and he got out on scoring just 9 of 19 deliveries. Gamage got his wicket and has his second in the innings.
Then the power and skill of Babar and Shoaib combined and again entertained the nation one more time. Their conspiracy worked yet again. Their slow start put the nation in disquiet. But as the nation know the level of Shoaib Malik, the nation was assured that Shoaib will play slow but he will win it for them. He did the same, gave confidence to Babar Azam and they played an unbeaten partnership of 119* and did it for the country. Shoaib Malik and Babar Azam both were 69* on 81 and 101 deliveries respectively. Shoaib’s knock of 69* included 3 maximums and 2 fours and Babar’s included 5 fours.
Pakistan easily wins the match by 7 wickets.
MAN OF THE MATCH AWARD
Babar Azam was awarded the man of the match award. (69* of 101 deliveries).
The next and the last ODI is scheduled on 23rd October, Monday and timings are 3:00 PM (PST).