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Bowler Saeed Ajmal (R) of Pakistan gestures after delivering the ball to batsman TM Dilshan (unseen) of Sri Lanka during their 2nd One Day International cricket match in Dubai, on December 20, 2013.  – AFP
Bowler Saeed Ajmal (R) of Pakistan gestures after delivering the ball to batsman TM Dilshan (unseen) of Sri Lanka during their 2nd One Day International cricket match in Dubai, on December 20, 2013. – AFP
Pakistan kept faith in the same team that won a high-scoring thriller in Sharjah. -Photo by AFP
Pakistan kept faith in the same team that won a high-scoring thriller in Sharjah. -Photo by AFP

DUBAI: Sri Lanka's late order batsmen held their nerve to beat Pakistan by two wickets and level the series in a match in which fortunes swung from one side to another in Dubai on Friday.

Set 285 to chase, Sri Lanka needed 16 off the last two overs and four off the final, as number ten batsman Sachitra Senanayake drove Shahid Afridi for boundary to seal a tense win for his team with two balls to spare.

Skipper Angelo Mathews was named name of the match for holding his nerves till the very end scoring crucial 47 runs for his team.

The win levelled the five-match series at 1-1 after Pakistan won the first match by 11 runs in Sharjah on Wednesday.

Ahmed Shehzad smashed a career best 124 off 140 balls for his fourth one-day century as Pakistan posted a challenging 284-4 in 50 overs after being sent in to bat.

Sri Lanka needed 44 off the last six overs as Angelo Mathews (47) and Dimuth Karunaratne (16 not out) held their nerves during a match-turning 44-run stand for the eighth wicket.

Sri Lanka had set themselves up nicely at 159-2 with Kumar Sangakkara (58) and Dinesh Chandimal (44) before Mathews came into his own.

When on 29, Sangakkara completed 12,000 one-day runs in his 359th match. He is the fourth batsmen to score 12,000 or more runs in the one-day chart led by now retired Sachin Tendulkar of India (18,426 in 463 matches) followed by Australian Ricky Ponting (13,704 in 375) and Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya (13,430 in 445).

Sangakkara reached his 82nd half-century off 54 balls but eight runs later played Ajmal onto his stumps. In all he hit four boundaries and a six off 67 balls.

Sri Lanka were off to a swift 48-run start by Tillakaratne Dilshan (40) and Kusal Perera (16) before both fell run out to leave Sri Lanka 65-2.

With the ball hard to grip for the spinners as dew fell, Sangakkara and Chandimal added 94 for the third wicket.

Nuwan Kulasekara chipped in with a 33-ball 32 with two sixes and three fours to up the scoring in the final overs.

Mathews praised his team's effort and fightback.

“It was a complete team effort,” said Mathews. “Pakistan were cruising along and were due for another big score but we kept them to 284 and then held our nerves for this win.”

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq said: “We gave away many runs in the final overs and we need to improve our death bowling if we want to win the series.”

Earlier, Shehzad steadied Pakistan's innings during a 76-run second wicket stand with Mohammad Hafeez (32).

Shehzad also added another 105 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (59 not out).

Shehzad took a single off Malinga to reach his hundred, which came off 121 balls with the help of six boundaries. But he was finally trapped leg-before by Kulasekara in the 46th over.

Shehzad's previous best in a one-day was 115 against New Zealand at Hamilton in 2011. Misbah kept the charge going alongside Shahid Afridi (30 not out in 15 balls) as Pakistan scored 92 in the last 10 overs.

Misbah hit two fours and a six in his 34th one-day half-century while Afridi hit two sixes and a boundary.

The Sri Lankan bowlers, who conceded 322 in the first game in Sharjah, kept a tight line and length but were hurt because of injuries to skipper Mathews and Thisara Perera who couldn't complete their overs.

The remaining matches will be played in Sharjah (Sunday) and Abu Dhabi (Wednesday and Friday).

Comments (18) Closed

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Dec 20, 2013 04:42pm

Losing the toss by Misbah-ul-Haq seems to be a good omen because Sri Lanka has opted to field which means the unchanged Pakistani squad for the second ODI don't have to chase and choke when it matters. Let's see what actually happens in the middle?

Jaswinder Singh Dec 20, 2013 09:23pm

Can we borrow some of Pakistani players so India can win as well I actually salute Pakistani players for their excellent batting and bowling skills in India we excel in betting.

Bansal Dec 20, 2013 09:35pm

What a performance by Pakistan and what a mess by India.

SaeedS Dec 21, 2013 12:28am

Where is Anwar Ali ? I don't believe these people doing same thing again

zaffar igbal Dec 21, 2013 01:19am

Pakistan lost the second ODI thanks to sohail tanveer

sami Dec 21, 2013 02:03am

Pak bat well again, but like the first games bowling couldn't finish the job. In the first match also Pakistan was lucky to have a win at the end.

Besides Junaid we need another specialist fast bowler if we need to win this series. Please do not compare ODI to T20. We cannot beat good teams without specialist bowlers. Also we need right hand fast bowler immediately for future and ODI world cup. For how long we will depend on Ajmal....

cricketlover Dec 21, 2013 02:19am

The signs were always there for this win by SL, but Pakistan failed to carry the momentum into this match even though they were fully conscious of the fact that their bowling dept. needs a boost as they have developed this tendency lately of leaking too many runs at the wrong time of the innings. They ran out of a 'plugger' at death and, consequently let the pressure off on the opposition. 44 runs in the last 6 overs and losing by a margin of 2 balls to spare sounds pathetic. Well, let's hope that Misbah and Whatmore can overcome this problem with an 'innovative' idea viz. playing Abdur Rehman in lieu of a paceman (possibly Bhatti) and, thus, relying on the spin quartet of Hafeez, Ajmal, Afridi & Rehman to stifle the Sri Lankans who have the newly-found luxury of 10 batsmen in their ODI line-up.

kamran Dec 21, 2013 02:20am

Scoring above 280 and still losing doesn't make sense. Even securing 322 was also difficult in the previous game. Why don't we take action????Play the bowlers according to pitch conditions. On flat pitches we need proper bowlers to win and here we lacked specialist fast bowler.

Srilanka's first wicket that was taken by the bowler was at 159. That is bad. We are lacking fast bowling penetration. We need to take wickets to win these games. Immediate action needed to win this series, We need another fast bowler. I mean not any fast bowler but fast fast bowler.

AJ Dec 21, 2013 04:23am

I have been watching Sohail Tanveer being selected for 6 years now and in as many years I have seen him being hammered day after day. But bravo!! Sohail Tanveer, you have also been consistant in bowling those short and wide balls at 122kph with "smash me" written on them. Please get this "charkha" bowler out of it and bring some proper bowlers who can at least bowl wicket to wicket balls at good length. Even Bhatti has no control over his length and no variations.

Shahid Dec 21, 2013 04:28am

Not saying it because we lost, but for God sake enough of this "pankha" bowler Sohail Tanveer. 30 % of his balls are short with a comfortable Width to be hit out of the stadium. If he can't learn it after 6 years of international exposure then don't count on him to do it now. Bhatti needs to learn controlling his length too and he needs to develope slow ball, slow bouncer, wide yorker etc before representing Pakistan.

asad Dec 21, 2013 06:27am

Sohail Tanvir should never play for Pakistan again..this guy is a disgrace to medium pace bowling

Nama Dec 21, 2013 08:22am

Time to let Bhatti and Hafeez go. Bhatti and shinwari are not the test/ODI and T20 candidate yet.

lubna Dec 21, 2013 09:03am

pakistan should have scored another 20 runs and that could have been done by sending afridi earlier since his strike rate is usually around 200% ,later when tanvir had one bad over ,he should not be given another one and afridi and hafeez were under utilised with 2 overs of hafeez and four overs of afridi were not used.pakistan must use 30 overs with three spinners,ajmal,afridi and hafeez and then 20 overs b/w the pacers with junaid 10 overs and bhatti and one another pacer with 10 overs togather

Muhammad Saidul Haque Dec 21, 2013 10:32am

Pakistan's unpredictable fame of cricket is operating at full of indisciplined way. The immatured team selection officials & "Misbah+Hafiz" --- silent misunderstanding, conflicting each to another which would bring out the complete demolition of Pak historical cricket. Misbah never learns from his miserable defeats that the present pace attack is never been compared with legendary Waqar & Wasim but Misbah always gives the priority to Sohail, Bilwal, etc. He always ignores leg spinner who could do more contribution for the Pak team as Misbah arrogantly is jealous of Abdur Rehman and along with other promising & talented young orthodox leg spin bowlers. Misbah even does not know when to change the appropriate bowlers, and also unmindful to set up the fielders in the right place.

RAJ Dec 21, 2013 11:17am


Abdulla Hussain Dec 21, 2013 11:41am

Both the team played good & entertaining cricket. This close fought win or lose is part of the game. The pitch offered very little to the bowlers. Congratulation to winners of 1st & 2nd ODI.

Effy Dec 21, 2013 03:33pm

Problem is slow scoring by Misbah and Hafeez.................

Ahmad Dec 21, 2013 08:05pm

It is so sad to see the behaviour of particularly the senior players - the likes of MH and SA - when they press Misbah for the reviews. Similar behavior was shown in the last two overs of SL innings last night.