Hasan Ali, spinners make it 4-0 for Pakistan

Saturday, 21 October 2017 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Lahiru Thirimanne leaves the field during the fourth one day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on October 20, 2017 - AFP


Sri Lanka’s barren run extended as they slipped to a seven-wicket loss and 0-4 in the five-match series. Hasan Ali continued his impressive run and received good support from Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim as the visitors were shot down for just 173.

It took Pakistan 39 overs to polish off the chase with Sri Lanka just about hanging in there before Babar Azam (69 not out) and Shoaib Malik (69 not out) took charge and decimated any hope the visitors had with a 119-run stand. Mohammad Hafeez scored 9 off 19 and was dismissed with 58 on the board. With three wickets in the bag, Sri Lanka had an opportunity to keep the door ajar. Instead, it was shut in no time as Babar and Malik player positive cricket to keep the runs flowing. With the asking rate not troubling the batsmen, Sri Lanka needed a special effort from one of their bowlers. That never came as Pakistan cantered past the line with another clinical performance.

Both Malik and Babar had no issues milking the toothless Sri Lanka bowling. The fact that Sri Lanka lacked fight is quite understandable. With things not going their way, the players appeared crestfallen and lacked the much-needed intensity required to defend a small total.

While Babar was cautious all the way, Malik mixed his cautious approach with panache to tighten Pakistan’s noose on the game. Pakistan’s batting also ruled out any demons that might have haunted Sri Lanka’s batsmen. Making it clear, the visitors have not only been beaten on the field but mentally as well.

Fifty for Babar: The Babar Azam juggernaut keeps rolling. Another half-century, his seventh in ODI. Mind you he also has seven centuries. If he isn’t world cricket’s newest batting sensation, then who is?

50-run stand: Babar and Malik have ensured Pakistan are staying ahead in this chase. 108 for 3 in the 28th over. (Cricbuzz.com)