November 19 2017

Champions Trophy: Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka: Hatke Player of the Match

November 19 2017, 06:46 | Sammy Rose

"I can't believe it".

It may sound amusing, but Zainab, who is a sports journalist from Pakistan, has been proving to be a jinx for all the players with whom she has been taking selfies, at least Twitterati believes so. So I don't think we have to worry about him at all. "If he scored 20, which he did, we would win".

Pakistan's innings looked to be in cruise control as Fakhar Zaman smashed boundaries for fun before being caught by Gunaratne off Nuwan Pradeep's bowling for 50, having been part of a 74 run opening partnership with Azhar Ali. And her latest target is Sri Lanka team captain Angelo Mathews. "I played the shot in the air, I just said, a captain, it's very important innings for me". The two batsmen rotated the strike quite easily, which not only kept the scoreboard ticking, but also put pressure back on Pakistan. Amir, in the 18 months since his return from the spot-fixing ban, had only one score higher than 17.

Before the nerves got hold of them, Pakistan were cruising. When Imad Wasim fell five balls later, Pakistan were 6 down with 100 runs still to win.

Sarfraz and Amir stayed cool; Perera at mid-on then dropped a sitter after Malinga had duped Sarfraz, the biggest and most decisive mistake of an error-strewn yet rather magnificent match. Pakistan was one over short of its target with time allowances taken into consideration. Hasan Ali eventually caused the downfall of both as Sri Lanka posted a modest total of 236 after being bowled out in the final over.

Sarfraz was on 38 then and Pakistan's score read 194-7.

A sensational four-over burst from Amir and Junaid ripped the heart out of the Sri Lankan middle order as they went from 161 for 3 to 167 for 7. Medium-pacer Hasan Ali took 3-43.

Lanka were cruising at 162 for three as Niroshan Dickwella (73) and Mathews (39) took the Pakistan bowlers to the cleaners by sharing a crucial 78-run stand for the fourth wicket.

That moment sparked four successive overs where Pakistan picked up as many wickets for the loss of just six runs.

History, however, favours Pakistan as they have won twice as against one by Sri Lanka in Champions Trophy.

Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed in action during the ICC Champions Trophy, Group B cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, at the Cardiff Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, Monday June 12, 2017.

Chasing 237 for a triumph, fast bowler Mohammad Amir (28) showed great resolve to stitch together an unbeaten 75-run stand with Sarfraz for the eighth wicket to help his side win in a see-saw battle. They were abject against India, brilliant against South Africa and rode their luck wildly at times against Sri Lanka.

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