Pakistan Secure Brilliant Six-Wicket Victory Against Sri Lanka, Thanks to Rizwan and Shafique’s Centuries
Pakistan secured a brilliant six-wicket victory against Sri Lanka in their ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Tuesday. The victory was powered by enterprising batting performances from Mohammad Rizwan (unbeaten 121 off 131) and Abdullah Shafique (103 off 113).
Pakistan’s innings was highlighted by a few key decisions, including the omission of Fakhar Zaman and the elevation of young talent like Abdullah Shafique in high-pressure situations.
Zaman, who had been enduring a lean run of form, found himself out of the playing XI earlier than expected. The debate surrounding his exclusion lingered, as some questioned whether he deserved to be dropped so swiftly.
Others argued in favour of providing a young player with his first World Cup experience rather than thrusting them into the intense atmosphere of a match against India, played in front of a massive crowd of 120,000 fans.
This decision ultimately paved the way for Abdullah Shafique to step into the spotlight. Facing the daunting task of batting after Pakistan’s top-order pillars, Imamul Haq (12) and Babar Azam (10), fell early in a challenging chase of 345 runs, Shafique had no choice but to absorb the pressure and maintain a steady run rate.
Shafique displayed remarkable composure, crafting his half-century off 58 balls with a display of classic cricket strokes. While his innings may have appeared unremarkable at times, they laid the foundation for a performance he could reflect on with pride.
His ability to adapt to the conditions and tackle Sri Lanka’s spinners were notable aspects of his innings, along with a sensational acceleration in the middle and late overs—a strategy Pakistan had relied on to secure the victory.
Rizwan, on the other hand, played a more aggressive role, taking the Sri Lankan bowlers to the task from the outset. He reached his century off just 103 balls, and his innings was studded with 13 fours and 4 sixes.
Rizwan and Shafique shared a 192-run partnership for the third wicket, which laid the foundation for Pakistan’s victory. After Shafique was dismissed, Rizwan continued his onslaught and remained unbeaten until the end, guiding Pakistan to a comfortable victory.
For Sri Lanka, Dilshan Madushanka (2-60) was the pick of the bowlers, while Maheesh Theekshana (1-59) and Matheesha Pathirana (1-90) also took a wicket each.
Earlier, Sri Lanka had posted a mammoth total of 344-9, thanks to enterprising centuries from Kusal Mendis (122 off 77) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (108 off 89).
Mendis and Samarawickrama shared a 213-run partnership for the fifth wicket, which helped Sri Lanka post a challenging total.
For Pakistan, Hasan Ali was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Haris Rauf took two wickets.
Pakistan’s victory was a significant one, as it helped them move to the top of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 points table. The victory was also a testament to the team’s depth and resilience, as they were able to bounce back from a few early setbacks to secure a comfortable victory.