Pakistan start post World Cup campaign with a 67-run victory in ODI vs Sri Lanka
Pakistan marked the return of ODI cricket in Karachi after ten years with a 67-run victory over Sri Lanka in the second one-day international on Monday. Babar Azam formed the backbone of Pakistan’s 305-7 total target when it smashed 115 of 105 balls. Babar also became the fastest Pakistani hitter to complete 1,000 ODI runs in a calendar year in 19 games.
In the absence of some key players who withdrew from the tour due to safety concerns, Sri Lanka was eliminated at 238 on 46.5 overs.
Shehan Jayasuriya (96) missed a 100-year bachelorette ODI, and Dasun Shanaka achieved the best 68 of his career before both fell in successive victories after sharing a century-old society.
Fast-bowling player Usman Shinwari rocked Sri Lanka’s new top order and reduced visitors to 28-5 before Jayasuriya and Shanaka shared a 177-runs for sixth-wicket.
Shinwari returned and broke off society by having Jayasuriya trapped and ending with 5-51. Shanaka was hit midfield brilliantly by diver Fakhar Zaman of Shadab Khan (2-76) on the next over.
A power failure at the National Stadium interrupted the game for 26 minutes during the Sri Lanka chase when one of the six reflector towers did not work twice.
It was not a crowded house at the 32,000-a-far National Stadium, where Sri Lanka was the last team to play an ODI in 2009.
However, still, around 12,000 cricket enthusiasts defied the strict safety checkpoints in warm, humid conditions and were captivated by Babar’s imperious 11th ODI hundred, which featured eight fours and four sixes.
Pakistan, which won the toss and opted to bat, got off to a good start with Fakhar (54) and Imam-ul-Haq (31) adding 73 runs to the opening spot.
Leg spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (2-63) got two wickets by removing both starters before Babar took over. He shared a 111-run position with Haris Sohail (40) before loitering throughout the 46th as Pakistan sought fast runs in the final finals.
While Sri Lanka lost the game, the team still won the hearts of many Pakistanis.
“I came here to support Sri Lanka because it is because of them that international cricket has come here,” said fan Quratul Ain. “My message to other countries is that they should also come here and play because we are a peaceful country and we love the game of cricket.”
Seasonal rain in the southern port city swept through the first ODI on Friday and forced Pakistan’s Cricket Board to reschedule the second ODI for Monday instead of Sunday. The third and final game will be played in the same place on Wednesday.
The ODI series will be followed by three Twenty20s in Lahore from October 5-9.
It is the first time since the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked in Lahore in 2009 that a foreign team has toured Pakistan for two weeks.
The main teams have avoided the country since the ambush that killed eight people and injured several players.
The current tour continued after the Pakistani government assured the Sri Lankan team of a high level of security normally reserved for heads of state.