Hyderabad October 10 2023 : Mohammad Rizwan and Abdullah Shafique scored superb centuries to inspire Pakistan to the biggest-ever successful chase in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup history to beat Sri Lanka in a superb game in Hyderabad.
Sri Lanka, sparked by a brilliant Kusal Mendis hundred and anchored by Sadeera Samarawickrama’s century, reached a big total of 344/9 in their first innings.
And the Lankans looked to have Pakistan in trouble when Babar Azam departed in the eighth over of the reply with the score at just 37/2.
But Shafique and Rizwan set the platform with a partnership worth 176 for the third wicket, and wrapped up their superb six-wicket win with 10 balls to spare.
This was the first time in men’s Cricket World Cup history that four centuries have been hit in the same match, with Pakistan coming out on top in a high-scoring thriller.
Pakistan’s chase got off to a disappointing start, with both Imam-ul-Haq (1) and Babar (10) dismissed in a sluggish first powerplay, with Dilshan Madushanka taking both wickets.
But Pakistan steadied the ship and built a platform, with Shafique reaching triple figures for the first time in his fledgling ODI career with a bludgeoned four through the leg side – one of 13 times in his 103-ball 113 that the 23-year-old found the boundary.
Pakistan’s men had only once chased a score in excess of 340 in their ODI history, while their previous highest World Cup chase was 263, so they required a record effort to make it two wins from two at the tournament.
But Rizwan, who collapsed with cramp at one stage during his brilliant innings, steered Pakistan to the highest-ever chase in the tournament’s history.
It was the wicketkeeper who fittingly struck the winning runs to finish on 131* from 121 balls.
Earlier, Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka won the toss, elected to bat first, and saw his team score the most runs Pakistan have ever conceded in a ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match.
Kusal Mendis was the star of the show for Sri Lanka for the second successive game, with the big-hitting No.3 slamming a majestic century to get his side off to a phenomenal start to the innings.
And Sadeera Samarawickrama helped build a formidable total of 344/9 as he stroked an excellent hundred of his own, departing for 108 from 89 balls.
The innings had begun in troubling fashion for Sri Lanka as they lost Kusal Perera without troubling the scoreboard – the second duck for a Lankan opener at the tournament already.
It was excellent bowling from Hasan Ali to take the wicket, with Pakistan’s opening bowlers looking dangerous on the Hyderabad wicket.
But Mendis blunted the Pakistani threat, smashing 20 boundaries including six maximums in his sensational 77-ball 122 to put his side on course for a big total.
Pathum Nissanka (51) batted well at the other end, before Samarawickrama joined Mendis out in the middle.
And it was Samarawickrama who steadied the ship as Hasan returned to pick up the key wicket of Mendis and Charith Asalanka (1) in his next over to expose Sri Lanka’s lower to middle order.
With Samarawickrama helping take his side beyond a score of 300, Sri Lanka were looking to finish big and set Pakistan’s battling line-up a big challenge.
Samarawickrama reached his century as Sri Lanka pushed in the death overs, but became Hasan's fourth wicket as he looked to play a reverse pull to find a gap in the outfield.
Hasan finished with figures of 4/71, and Pakistan did well to keep the scoring in check late on as wickets fell at useful and regular intervals – an effort that proved pivotal at the back-end of the chase.
To lose in such a manner will be a crushing blow to a Sri Lankan side who suffered a first-up defeat at the hands of South Africa.
Pakistan remain unbeaten at the Cricket World Cup, with this extraordinary victory following their impressive win first-up against the Netherlands.