Perera hat-trick sinks Pakistan
A spectacular maiden hat-trick by all-rounder Thisara Perera helped the Lions defend 243 and outclass Pakistan by 9 points on Index in the fourth ODI at the R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.
Following a disappointing washout in the 3rd ODI where only 6.2 overs were possible, both the teams went into the match with the same line-ups. The conditions looked sunny at the start with chances of rain later on.
Sri Lanka won the toss and without any hesitation, elected to bat on a good batting wicket. Tharanga scored the first four of the innings off the sixth ball of the innings with a classy steer past point off Umar Gul. But Gul struck the first blow when he had Tharanga caught at second slip in his next over. Dilshan and Sangakkara survived some close LBW appeals but with a calm and steady approach, bringing in all the experience, they started the resurrection process. They took the score to 35/1 at the end of Quick Start Overs.
The pair looked poor while running between the wickets and survived close run out chances. The pair then upped the ante scoring 33 runs runs from the Bowling Powerplay. Misbah brought Hafeez into the attack and the trick worked as he removed the set Dilshan leg before wicket off the first ball of his spell ending 55-run stand between the pair. The hosts again went into the shell after Dilshan’s wicket as Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal could just manage 26 runs from the next 9 overs. The pressure got to Chandimal and was cleaned up by Hafeez in the 26th over before rain halted play.
Luckily no overs were lost and when the play resumed, Sangakkara and Jayawardena started another rebuilding process but the former received a lifeline in the 31st over when he was dropped on 35 by Gul and he made sure that he made the visitors pay as he hit his 72nd half-century and added 49 runs from the Batting Powerplay. He added 110 for the 4th wicket with Jayawardena before both of them departed in consecutive overs, 44th and 45th.
The lower order failed to make a considerable impact as they added just 33 runs from the last five overs to reach a decent 243/8. The hosts managed to score 69/3 from the Extreme Performance overs. Sangakkara received the best Batting Momentum of 111 for his 130-ball 97, while Mohammad Hafeez was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan with figures of 37/2 from 10 overs which attained him the highest Bowling Efficiency of 190.
Pakistan started off on a poor note as Mohammad Hafeez continued his woeful form. He went for a duck and took his tally to five ducks in his last 12 ODIs. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, the prospects of the future Pakistan middle-order, then got together to build a good partnership. They went about their shots and did well to keep the bowlers at bay. But sooner, Shafiq departed after a 53-run stand when his misses a straight delivery from Weerakoon and was trapped leg before wicket.
This was Weerakoon’s maiden ODI wicket. Azhar Ali was playing a confident innings so far, he along with skipper Misbah-ul-Haq started the resurrection process again. Both the batsmen played sensibly for their half-centuries and added 113 runs for the 3rd wicket before Powerplay voodoo struck. Misbah hit one straight down the throat of mid off, off Malinga and the collapse commenced.
Umar Akmal departed in the next over and with 68 runs required off the Extreme Performance overs, Perera wrecked havoc with a maiden hat-trick, removing Younus Khan, Shahid Afridi and Sarfraz Ahmed and a ball later athletically ran Sohail Tanvir out to reduce the visitors to 176/8. Azhar Ali, meanwhile, was struggling with cramps at the other end but he lost out on partners as the last two wickets fell quickly and the visitors lost out by 44 runs. They lost 8/33 in 46 balls.
Azhar Ali remained unbeaten on 81 off 126 balls and received the best Batting Momentum of 84. Thissara Perera was the pick of the bowlers for the Lankans as he ended up with the best Bowling Efficiency thanks to splendid figures of 4/42.
The hosts finished on 51 points, 9 ahead of Pakistan. Thisara Perera topped the Index with 54 points thanks to his brilliant maiden hat-trick. The Lions have taken a 2-1 lead in the series with one match to go.