Mohammad Rizwan and Abdullah Shafique scored dominant centuries to help Pakistan pull off the highest-ever chase in a World Cup by thrashing Sri Lanka by six wickets in their second match in World Cup 2023.
In a high-scoring clash match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, Sri Lanka suffered their second defeat in the ongoing World Cup despite centuries from Sri Lankan batters Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama.
However, Mohammad Rizwan and Abdullah Shafique’s spectacular performances rained on their parade successfully chasing down a target of 345 with ten balls to spare.
Despite a shaky start for Pakistan, losing opening batters Imam-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam early, the game changed course with an incredible partnership between Mohammad Rizwan and Abdullah Shafique.
The third-wicket stand between the two batters, amassing 176 runs off 156 balls, proved to be the turning point of the match.
Rizwan, despite struggling with cramps towards the end of the chase, displayed unwavering determination, finishing with an unbeaten 131 off 121 balls.
Meanwhile, opening batter Abdullah Shafique, who replaced Fakhar Zaman in this match, broke the record for the highest score by a Pakistan debutant at a World Cup. He scored a fluent 113 off 103 before perishing in the 34th over.
After Abdullah Shafique’s wicket, Rizwan carried the run chase and was involved in two partnerships – 95 off 68 with Saud Shakeel and 37 off 23 with Iftikhar Ahmed, steering Pakistan to a convincing victory.
This win will undoubtedly bolster Pakistan’s confidence as they prepare for a crucial showdown against India on Saturday.
On the other side for Sri Lanka, it has been a disappointing start to their campaign, suffering back-to-back defeats. Their bowlers, especially, are under scrutiny after conceding over 750 runs in just two matches. Despite the return of Maheesh Theekshana, Sri Lanka struggled to find effective strategies to break partnerships and control the scoring in the middle overs.
In this high-scoring clash, Pakistan showcased their resilience and tactical acumen, setting the stage for an electrifying clash against arch-rivals India in the upcoming fixture. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will need to regroup and address their bowling concerns in order to bounce back in the tournament.
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