WATCH : Sri Lanka book final-date against India with last-ball thriller over Pakistan

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Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, won the toss and chose to bat first once the rain had stopped, allowing for a 45-over contest. Unfortunately, Fakhar Zaman couldn’t capitalize on his captain’s decision, as he was bowled out by Pramod Madushan in the fifth over. Babar and Abdullah Shafique steadied the innings with a 64-run partnership.

However, Dunith Wellalage had Babar stumped for 29 in the 16th over, leaving the score at 73/2. Shafique followed suit shortly after reaching his half-century. The Sri Lankan team added to Pakistan’s woes by taking two quick wickets just before a rain interruption in the 28th over, leaving Pakistan struggling at 130/5.

When the game resumed, three more overs per side had been lost due to the rain, which shifted the momentum. Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed put on a spectacular 108-run partnership in just 77 balls for the sixth wicket, with Iftikhar contributing 47 runs while Rizwan remained unbeaten on 86, both at similar strike rates of 117-plus. Their efforts helped Pakistan score 102 runs in the last 10 overs, setting Sri Lanka a target of 252 runs.

In response, Kusal Perera, who was returning to the team, started aggressively, hitting four boundaries off Pakistan’s new-ball bowlers. However, his innings was cut short when Shadab Khan’s precise throw led to his run-out after scoring 17 runs in just seven balls.

On the other hand, Pathum Nissanka adopted a more cautious approach, taking 44 balls to score 29 runs before falling victim to Shadab, this time with the ball. Nevertheless, with the score at 77/2 in the 14th over, Sri Lanka seemed in control, and any lingering concerns were eased as Sadeera Samarawickarama and Kusal Mendis formed a strong partnership.

Kusal Mendis reached his fifty in just 47 balls, while Samarawickarama contributed a crucial 48 runs. When their 100-run partnership ended, Sri Lanka needed 75 runs, which was further reduced to 42 at a required rate of six runs per over when Mendis was dismissed for 91 runs off 87 balls.

However, Iftikhar took another crucial wicket, his third in the match, followed by two consecutive wickets for Shaheen Afridi in the penultimate over, creating a dramatic twist in the match. In the end, Charith Asalanka held his composure and scored the two necessary runs on the final ball to lead Sri Lanka to victory, remaining unbeaten with 49 runs.

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