Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, rushed to the field to celebrate with Mohammad Rizwan after his unbeaten 131 led them to a historic victory over Sri Lanka in the 2023 World Cup on Tuesday in Hyderabad.
Babar appeared both relieved and elated as Pakistan secured their second consecutive win in a dream beginning to the prestigious tournament.
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The Pakistan team didn’t perform well with the ball, conceding 344 runs as Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama both scored centuries. However, they made a strong recovery in the late overs, restricting Sri Lanka to just 27 runs in the final five overs and taking four wickets, including two in the 50th over, delivered by Haris Rauf.
Pakistan faced early setbacks in their run-chase as they lost Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam in the first 10 overs, putting more responsibility on the middle order.
However, the 1992 World Cup champions made a strong comeback with a remarkable 176-run partnership between Abdullah Shafique and Rizwan, with Shafique scoring 115 before getting out. Despite grappling with severe cramps, Rizwan didn’t leave the field and continued to lead the charge.
Rizwan then contributed 95 more runs partnering with Saud Shakeel, and Iftikhar Ahmed delivered the finishing touches as Pakistan achieved the most significant successful run-chase in 50-over World Cup history.
“Every member of the team in the locker room held strong confidence”- Mohammad Rizwan
When speaking to the host broadcaster following the win, Mohammad Rizwan described the performance as exceptional and humorously referred to his cramps as Intermittent acting.
“Always proud when you perform like that,” he said. “It was difficult and when you chase like that, it’s always special. Every player in the dressing room had the belief we can chase that. Basically, it’s a good track and we decided to calculate the innings. Sometimes cramps, sometimes acting (laughs).”
This victory marked Pakistan’s biggest successful run-chase in World Cup history and continued their undefeated streak against Sri Lanka, making it 8-0. Babar Azam and his team will now take on India in Ahmedabad on October 14.