Pakistan threw away another golden opportunity to beat Sri Lanka, going down by two wickets in the fifth and final One-Day International (ODI) and also lose the series 3-1.
Angelo Mathews was Sri Lanka’s hero with a splendid, unbeaten 80 as the tourists chased down the 248-run target with two balls to spare. With 15 needed off the final over, Mathews, who arrived when Sri Lanka were precariously placed at 97 for four in the 25th over, smashed Mohammad Sami for a couple of twos and a six before a boundary over cover sealed the result.
Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq credited the Sri Lankan but was at a loss explaining the reasons for the defeat.
"Mathews took the game away from us," said Misbah. "We were 15 to 20 runs short in our innings and they bowled well at the end. Again, our fielding let us down. We have to forget this and improve our performance in the Tests."
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was a pleased man. "It was a great game," said Jayawardene. "The whole series was fantastic. We had to dig deep at times, and today was no different. It was a big call to play Jeevan Mendis today. We just need to focus on little things like we did in the ODIs.”
Mathews, named man of the match, was relieved after having an off-colour series.
“I haven't had the opportunity to bat since the first game,” said Mathews.
“But I was ready. I’m glad I did it today in front of an amazing crowd.”
The defeat marks a good tonic for Sri Lanka, who lost the last ODI series to Pakistan 4-1 in the UAE, ahead of the Test series that starts on June 22.
A slideshow of the match can be viewed here.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2012.