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Rizwan inspires victory in Pakistan’s biggest World Cup chase.

Rizwan inspires victory in Pakistan’s biggest World Cup chase.

Mohammad Rizwan and Abdullah Shafique batted brilliantly to lead Pakistan to the biggest-ever successful chase in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup history, defeating Sri Lanka in a thrilling game in Hyderabad.

Sri Lanka reached a big total of 344/9 in their first innings, propelled by a brilliant Kusal Mendis century and anchored by Sadeera Samarawickrama’s century.

And Pakistan appeared to be in trouble when Babar Azam was dismissed in the eighth over of the reply, with the score at 37/2.

But Shafique and Rizwan set the tone with a 176-run third-wicket stand, and they cruised to a six-wicket victory with 10 balls to spare.

Four centuries were hit in the same match for the first time in men’s Cricket World Cup history, with Pakistan winning in a high-scoring thriller.


Pakistan’s chase got off to a slow start, with Dilshan Madushanka taking both wickets of Imam-ul-Haq (1) and Babar (10) in the first powerplay.

 

But Pakistan steadied the ship and built a platform, with Shafique reaching triple figures for the first time in his nascent ODI career with a bludgeoned four through the leg side – one of 13 boundaries in his 103-ball 113.

Pakistan’s men had only chased a score of more than 340 once in ODI history, and their previous highest World Cup chase was 263, so a record effort was required to make it two wins from two at the tournament.

But Rizwan, who collapsed with cramp at one point during his brilliant innings, led Pakistan to the tournament’s highest-ever chase.

The wicketkeeper struck the winning runs, finishing with 131* from 121 balls.

Earlier, Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka won the toss and chose to bat first, allowing his team to score the most runs ever conceded by Pakistan in an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup match.

Kusal Mendis was the star of the show for Sri Lanka for the second time in a row, slamming a majestic century to get his side off to a fantastic start to the innings.

Sadeera Samarawickrama contributed to a formidable total of 344/9 with an excellent century of his own, departing for 108 from 89 balls.

Sri Lanka’s innings had begun in perilous fashion, as they lost Kusal Perera without troubling the scoreboard – the second duck for a Lankan opener at the tournament.

Hasan Ali bowled brilliantly to take the wicket, with Pakistan’s opening bowlers looking dangerous on the Hyderabad pitch.

Mendis, on the other hand, blunted Pakistan’s threat, smashing 20 boundaries, including six maximums, in his sensational 77-ball 122 to set his side up for a big total.

At the other end, Pathum Nissanka (51) batted well before Samarawickrama joined Mendis in the middle.

And it was Samarawickrama who helped to steady the ship after Hasan returned to pick up the crucial wickets of Mendis and Charith Asalanka (1) in his next over, exposing Sri Lanka’s lower to middle order.

Sri Lanka were looking to finish big and pose a big challenge to Pakistan’s battling line-up, with Samarawickrama helping his side surpass 300.

As Sri Lanka pushed in the final overs, Samarawickrama became Hasan’s fourth wicket as he attempted to play a reverse pull to find a gap in the outfield.

Hasan finished with 4/71, and Pakistan did well to keep the scoring under control late on, with wickets falling at useful and regular intervals – an effort that proved crucial at the tail end of the chase.

A loss in this manner would be devastating for a Sri Lankan team that had already suffered a first-up defeat at the hands of South Africa.

Pakistan remain unbeaten in the Cricket World Cup, with this extraordinary victory coming on the heels of their impressive first-round victory over the Netherlands.

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