With this being the final match of the qualifying round, the Sri Lankans and Pakistanis battled each other to get the final spot in the semifinals. England, Bangladesh and India are the teams that have already made it to the semis, this match determined the final team.
On winning the toss, Pakistan elected to field first. The Sri Lankans started off bit shaky, losing their first wicket with just 26 runs on the board. However, Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella started to pick the pace up once again, having a 3-wicket 50 runs partnership before Mendis was bowled by Hasan Ali, Sri Lanka now 82-2. One run later Dinesh Chandimal was bowl for a golden duck. Captain Angelo Mathews and Dickwella steaded the Sri Lankan innings with a 78 runs partnership. Mathews will depart on 39 after being bowled by Mohammad Amir. From here on the Sri Lankans middle order was crippled by Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan after some magnificent bowling.
Thankfully, Suranga Lakmal and Asela Gunaratne brought some momentum back to the innings which helped them to get to a challenging total. The Sri Lankans wouldn’t complete the entire 50 overs as they were bowled out for 236 in 49.2 overs. Overall, the Pakistani bowlers did a remarkable job with the ball. Khan and Ali both got 3 wickets, Amir and Ashraf both got 2 wickets each.
Getting the Pakistan’s innings to a quick start were openers Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali. These two displayed some sensible and brilliant batting at the start, dealing in boundaries, rotating the strike, some well disciplined cricket. Basically, the Pakistanis were cruising quite comfortably to their target. Finally, the Sri Lankans will get the wicket of Zaman after he got to his half-century. Batting 92-2, the Pakistanis lost some quick wickets, losing 5 wickets in the space of 70 runs. Sri Lanka now needing 3 more wickets to victory were surely back in the race to win the game.
With Pakistan on 162-7 and 75 runs away from victory, the chances of them winning were pretty slim. This was not so as captain Sarfraz Ahmed played a a incredible knock with assist from Amir which lead Pakistan closer and closer to victory. Sri Lanka’s fielding was very poor at this part of the innings, having a couple of dropped catches and numerous misfields. This heavily lead to a disappointing end to Sri Lankans tournament as Pakistan will go on to win the match by 3 wickets.
Pakistan will now have to face England in the first semifinal and the second semifinal will be between Bangladesh and India.