In a thrilling encounter at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, Pakistan achieved the highest successful chase ever in World Cup history, gunning down a mammoth target of 345 to register back-to-back victories. The jubilant scenes in the Pakistan camp were palpable as Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf lifted Mohammad Rizwan in celebration, while skipper Babar Azam shared an emotional embrace with the star of the night.
Mohammad Rizwan, battling cramps and a relentless Sri Lankan attack, played a masterclass innings, scoring an unbeaten 131. His resilience and determination were evident as he anchored the innings and steered Pakistan to a historic win.
But Rizwan wasn’t alone in this herculean task. Abdullah Shafique, who was included in the playing XI in place of Fakhar Zaman, made a statement with a career-best performance. Despite having played just eight List A games prior to this match, Shafique showcased maturity beyond his experience, partnering with Rizwan to turn the tide against Sri Lanka.
For Sri Lanka, it was a night of heartbreak as they suffered their second consecutive defeat in the tournament. The team had made a strategic change at the start of Pakistan’s innings, with Sadeera Samarawickrama keeping wickets in place of Kusal Mendis. However, despite their efforts, the Lankan Lions couldn’t defend their imposing total.
Sri Lanka set a challenging total of 344/9 in their allotted 50 overs, with a run rate of 6.88. The inning was anchored by Kusal Mendis, who played a blistering knock of 122 off just 77 deliveries, which included 14 boundaries and six maximums. He was well supported by Sadeera Samarawickrama, who crafted a fine century, scoring 108 off 89 balls. Pathum Nissanka also chipped in with a valuable half-century, contributing 51 runs. On the bowling front for Pakistan, Hasan Ali was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 4 wickets for 71 runs, while Haris Rauf bagged 2 wickets, conceding 64 runs in his 10-over spell.
Responding to Sri Lanka’s formidable total, Pakistan showcased a commendable batting display, achieving the target by scoring 345/4 in just 48.2 overs at a run rate of 7.13. Mohammad Rizwan, who managed the chase and managed to remain unbeaten with a magnificent 131 off 121 balls, was in command. Youngster Abdullah Shafique also rose to the occasion, scoring a vital 113 off 103 balls. Saud Shakeel played a quickfire inning, adding 31 runs off 30 balls. Sri Lanka’s bowling saw Dilshan Madushanka as the most successful, picking up 2 wickets for 60 runs, while Maheesh Theekshana managed to get a solitary wicket, giving away 59 runs. In the end, Pakistan clinched the match with 10 balls to spare, marking a memorable victory in the tournament.