With the series on the line, Sri Lanka and Pakistan were at the R. Premadasa stadium in Colombo for the 4th ODI of the 5-match series. There were speculations even before the match started that rain was going to take over and finish it sooner or later judging by the clouds, and at one point, it did, stopping the match for an hour. But the teams went on the play and complete the 50-over match, showing everyone that they weren’t going to go down that easy. At the end of the day however, there had to be a winner, and the Lankans showed why they’ve always been dangerous, specially at home. The Pakistanis, who looked like they had everything in control at one point, collapsed faster than a castle made out of playing cards, losing to their hosts by 44 runs.
Splendid performances by Sangakkara and Perera saw their team through to an easy victory in what should have been a close match. Pakistan’s shocking collapse will not be forgotten for a long time. Lankans have now taken inaccessible lead in the series with just one match to go..
The scoresSri Lanka 243/8 in 50 overs.
Pakistan 199 allout in 45 overs.
Full scorecard : 4th ODI, 16 June 2012.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Lanka had one plan in mind – Get a good score and defend it, period. A solid contribution by the top and middle-order batsmen saw them reach 243 runs. Their wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara led the pack, with 97 runs, just 3 short of a deserving century, but nonetheless, a brilliant effort. The captain Mahela Jayawardene made 40 runs. Even though Sri Lanka started to lose wickets quickly towards the end, they managed to hold on and played out entire 50 overs. A few good spells from Hafeez, Ajmal and Tanvir, it was an average bowling performance by the visitors who would have liked to restrict their opponents to a smaller total, but it was not to be. 243 was a decent score, but would it prove to be enough?
Pakistan fumbled in the first over itself, losing Hafeez to Malinga, but battled on. No.3 Shafiq was out after helping his team cross the 50-run mark. Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali took over from there and built a strong partnership, raising a century stand before Misbah-ul-Haq fell.
With the loss of that wicket, it was as if Pakistan were a lot weaker and fragile. Umar Akmal was gone in the next over, and just one more over later, Perera unplugged, taking Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi and Sarfraz Ahme’s wickets in 3 consecutive deliveries. Looking at the calibers of the three batsmen, Perera might have just got himself one of the best hat-tricks in the history of the game, and just one ball after the incredible feat, he got his fourth wicket of the over, bagging Tanvir. Mathews took Gul in the next over and Perera came back to finish it, downing Ajmal.
#2 batsman Azhar Ali was the only one left standing, after having scored 81 runs, keeping his calm in the midst of all those quick wickets. But he would ultimately finish dissatisfied. Pakistan had scored 26 runs and lost 7 wickets in the last 6 overs they played. It was a complete disaster which will definitely not go well with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The hosts kept up their form from the washed out 3rd ODI between the two, where they had a dream start, and proved themselves worthy of being called one of the best cricket teams in the world. Pakistan will have their work cut out for them in the days to come and will have to train harder than ever, if they want to salvage a draw out of this series while their chances are slowly and steadily fading away. Will we see a comeback by the men in green? Or will the Lankans continue their dominance in the last ODI on the 18th of June? Watch and find out.