So the second virtual quarter-finals between no.6 and no.8 team proved to be more of a contest than the No.1 side and no.3 side encounter yesterday.(Reason may be as both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are equally weak and unpredictable at their best).
Anyways at the end of the very strange day, strange? Yes because Pakistan managed to hold their nerve to win a close contest that too by chasing. Ya ya, I know you all will say “come on 237 runs to chase in current ODI games no big deal”. People we are here talking about Pakistan so give them slack they did bring their A game to win it. Okay, enough of jokes.
Having won the toss Pakistan opted to bowl. Though chasing never has been their strength but it is the trend to win in this year CT tournament. Srilanka didn’t get to best of all starts as they lost Gunathilaka cheaply. Then inform Mendis along with Dickwella got the recovery going. But Hasan Ali cleaned him up against the run of play with a beauty. That was a big blow as SriLanka managed to win the game against India on the back of a brilliant knock from Mendis. So the next thing SriLanka fans and supporters wanted was a solid 50 run or more partnership and didn’t want was a quick wicket. But Srilanka team had “other ideas” they choose Their next Virat Kohli the unreliable, out of form from the day of his debut Mr.Chandimal, so he did what he does best scored a duck to put SriLanka on the back foot. From then it was business as usual for Mathews to steady the ship. He did that with dickwella. But he fell with scoreboard reading 161/4, then true colors of Srilanka came to light. They just made a dramatic collapse and from 161/4 to 167-7. No credit taken away from Pakistan bowlers but losing 3 wickets for 6 runs during the middle overs doesn’t deserve a win in modern game one day cricket. Lakmal with gunaratne made some much-needed runs that got SriLanka to a decent total of 236, no way a match winning but still was very competitive against a reckless Pakistan batting.
Bowling wise Amir, Junaid were really good but Hasan Ali has been the best of the lot in this tournament for Pakistan.
Pakistan on his ‘Very Strange’ day started off to flier chasing 236. Credit to Fakhar Zaman he raised of in style and scored the fastest 50 by Pakistan player in CT history. When he departed it looked like Pakistan were ahead in the chase but after all we know their batting ability and temperament right. They suddenly slipped from 74-1 to 137-6. All their batters played reckless strokes they didn’t not have any calculation or awareness while chasing such small total. Mohammad Hafeez is still in team, I guess even he doesn’t know the reason of what for he is still selected or not dropped forever. But fortunately Sarfaraz was still in there and he along with the likes of Amir played a very sensible knock to drive Pakistan closer to the total. Huge praise to Amir for such a matured knock if not for his innings Pakistan had no chance what so ever. Still with more than 30 to get and only 3 wickets in hand Pakistan knew the game was far from over. Srilanka badly needed a breakthrough and brought in the old warhorse Malinga. Immediately he created a chance but for Perera’s drop of a dolly, Sarfaraz would have been back in the hut. Again the next over of Malinga created one more chance but that too was put down. So Sarfraz was twice lucky to stay. But with that, it was all over for sSriLanka also added to their worst catching they conceded over throws, byes & many miss fielding. That summed up their day, as Pakistan strolled to 3 wicket win and reached semi-final to meet the inform England.
With 3 Asian teams in SF one would hope the trophy will remain in sub-continent. But as an honest fan and analyst of the game only chance for that to happen is if India make to finals and defeat the might England. I don’t see Pakistan pulling a rabbit out of hat against the poms this time. Because Poms are no rabbits now they are Lions of ODI game. #PakVSL #CT2017