By BV Swagath
Pakistan unexpectedly won the First ODI at Hambantota despite slipping to a precarious position of 106 for 5 while chasing a tall target of 271 from 45 overs. Sohaib Maqsood was the new hero for Pakistan taking the visitors home with a brilliant 89 not out from 73 balls with 9 fours. He was well supported by left-hander Fawad Alam who took his time to score 62 from 61 balls with 7 fours.
Maqsood and Alam featured in a match-winning 6th wicket stand of 147 in 19.3 overs to rob the game from the Lankans. In the final over, Pakistan needed just four runs to win and they got the winning run with one ball to spare to end the high drama. Sri Lanka perhaps could have won the match had Sangakkara gone on to complete the easy stumping off Sohaib Maqsood in Herath’s bowling when the batsman was quite new to the crease.
Early on, Sri Lanka too found itself struggling because of a top order failure. The Lankans were 75 for 4 before Mahela Jayawardene (63 from 66 balls with 8 fours) and Skipper Angelo Mathews (89 from 85 balls with 9 fours and 2 sixes) revived the situation. A 116-run stand between the duo laid the foundation for a healthy total for Sri Lanka.
New comer Ashan Priyaranjan played a magical cameo of 39 from 15 balls with 8 fours to help SL finish at 275 for 7 in 45 overs. The match was curtailed following a rain interruption after the 6th over.
Toss Update: Pakistan have won the toss and opted to bowl first in overcast conditions at Hambantota. The skies look grey and rain is expected to play its part in this match. However, play will be continued if it is a light drizzle.
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara (WK), Mahela Jayawardene, Ashan Priyanjan, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews (C), Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal (WK), Misbah-ul-Haq (C), Fawad Alam, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan
Rain Update: The 1st ODI at Hambantota has been delayed by 15 minutes because of light drizzle. The match will be a full 50-over contest that will begin at 10:15 AM local. The pitch is on the drier side and will be a good batting surface although there will be some moisture because of being under covers for a day.