Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama set Pakistan daunting target

On Tuesday, October 10, Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama both struck magnificent hundreds to help Sri Lanka reach 344/9. Mendis achieved a historic first by scoring three figures in a World Cup game in just 65 balls, setting the stage for his remarkable century. Pathum Nissanka, who helped him out, immediately hit a clean fifty.

Actually, once Sri Lanka decided to bat first, Pakistan got off to a good start. After nicking one behind in the second over while attempting to cut Hasan Ali, Kusal Perera was out for a duck. On the other side, Mendis moved swiftly to launch the powerplay in response to the Pakistani attack. 

Imam-ul-Haq was only batting on 18, and Mendis offered him a chance. Had he been able to hold onto it, the men in green might have quickly and easily dismissed him. Nissanka smacked Ali for a six and a four at the other end to keep Sri Lanka going forward. As he continued to find the barrier and keep riding forward till he reached 43, Nissanka briefly overtook Mendis.

In the same over, both batters achieved fifty hits, but Mendis quickly overtook his teammate. By eliminating Nissanka, Shadab Khan finally gave Pakistan the victory they so desperately needed, but the relief didn’t stay for very long. Mendis and Samarawickrama each hit a six off Haris Rauf, shocking their opponents. Shaheen Afridi was unable to halt the flow of runs as Mendis absolutely gobbled the Pakistani assault as it proceeded to unleash a barrage of boundaries. Sri Lanka had 181/2 at the midway point up till Mendis pounded Ali over the ropes to put up a magnificent hundred.

Before being caught at the boundary for a 77-ball 122, Mendis smashed the same bowler for two additional sixes, coming close to completing a hat-trick of sixes. After Charith Asalanka exited for just 1, Pakistan appeared to fight back for a moment, but Samarawickrama’s presence kept Pakistan on their toes. By making sure the run rate didn’t fall, he helped Dhananjaya de Silva maintain composure at the other end and brought up a fifty off just 43 balls.

After 41 overs, Sri Lanka had a score of 294/4, which suggested that a total of roughly 375 might be reachable. By hitting frequently, Pakistan eventually was able to minimise the damage. Nawaz dismissed De Silva on his debut, and Afridi quickly removed Dasun Shanaka a few over later. Although Samarawickrama scored a century for the first time in an ODI, Pakistan only conceded nine runs in the final two overs because of his departure with two balls remaining. 345 is a significant goal for a squad whose openers are having trouble with their form despite that last-ditch effort.

Brief scores

Sri Lanka 344/9 in 50 overs (Kusal Mendis 122, Sadeera Samarawickrama 108; Hasan Ali 4/71) vs Pakistan

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