DUMBULLA: Hafeez’s heroic helps Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 6 wickets with nearly 5 overs in hand in first One Day International at Dambulla to lead the five-match series 1-0 .
Chasing 256, openers Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad got Pakistan off to a good start, before Angelo Mathews removed his counterpart in his second over.
Soon Shehzad walked back to the hut as he chased a dangerous ball from Suranga Lakmal. Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam then steadied the innings with a fifty partnership but Tillakaratne Dilshan trapped the latter plumb in front to dent the visitors.
Mohammad Hafeez was the star from Pakistan, he claimed 4-41 with the ball and then delivered another ton against Islanders, his first ODI hundred in 22 innings. Hafeez became the second Pakistani player after Shoaib Malik to score a hundred and take four wickets or more in an ODI.
Hafeez though was positive at one end and after passing his fifty, upped the ante and played some excellent counterattacking cricket, His heroic innings helped Paksitan to chase down the total with 28 bqall and 6 wickets in hand.
Malik also completed his fifty and alongside Mohammad Rizwan, batted sensibly to ensure that Pakistan went 1-0 up in the 5-match ODI series. The Sri Lanka bowlers were not penetrative enough and even their spearhead, Lasith Malinga, went for runs.
Batting first,almost all the Sri Lankan batsmen got starts, but none could convert them into a substantial score. The top-5 batters all got to 20 or more but it was their No. 6, Dinesh Chandimal, who got to a fifty. He along with debutant, Milinda Siriwardana added a few useful runs to boost the final total. In the end, hosts could manage to put 255-8 runs on the board after fifty overs.
Hafeez was named ‘man of the match’ award for his heroic all-round performance