Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan by 165 runs in the fifth and final one-day international in Hambantota on Sunday, but lost the series 3-2.
The hosts piled up their highest total of 368-4 against Pakistan after electing to bat and then bowled their rivals out for 203 in a match that held only academic interest.
Pakistan, who had also won the preceding Test series 2-1, will now clash with Sri Lanka in two Twenty20 matches in Colombo on July 30 and August 1.
Sri Lanka, led by Kusal Perera’s 116-run knock, set Pakistan a 369-run target in the fifth ODI in Hambantota on Sunday.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Perera and Tilakaratne Dilshan (62) gave Sri Lanka the perfect start with a 164-run opening stand. Dilshan completed his 10,000 ODI runs in the process.
The partnership was broken by a run out when Ahmed Shehzad hit the wickets from covers as Dilshan tried to steal a single.
Perera was also caught short of his crease when he tried to finish a second run while steering the ball towards long leg where Anwar Ali’s throw came rocketing towards Muhammad Irfan who dislodged the bails.
Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal were the first ones to fall off a bowler’s delivery. Thirimanne was caught at point by Muhammad Rizwan off Rahat Ali while Chandimal was caught by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed as he went to slog an off-cutter from the same bowler.
Angelo Mathews then coupled with Milinda Siriwardana and took the charge to the Pakistani bowlers. The Sri Lanka captain scored 70 off 40 balls as Siriwardana (52 off 26) just reached his half-ton in the last over with a six off Irfan on the fifth over.
Pakistan have already won the series 3-1 and move one place above West Indies in the ODI rankings. If the men in green decide not to play an ODI series against Zimbabwe and the Windies do not play a series with any country till September 30, then Pakistan will qualify for the Champions Trophy.
Sri Lanka: AD Mathews (C) , LD Chandimal†, TM Dilshan, N Pradeep, RAS Lakmal, SL Malinga, SS Pathirana, MDKJ Perera, NLTC Perera, S Prasanna, SMA Priyanjan, SMSM Senanayake, TAM Siriwardana, WU Tharanga, HDRL Thirimanne
Nuwan Pradeep is out of the fifth ODI because of his injury and Lasith Malinga and Sachith Pathirana have been dropped. Sachithra Senanayake, Thisara Perera and Lahiru Gamage will be replacing them.
Pakistan: Azhar Ali (C), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed†, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan
Pakistan will not be making any changes as they get set to play the fifth and final ODI against the Lankans.
Toss: Pakistan lost the toss. They will be bowling first against Sri Lanka.
Pakistan team postpones visit to Zimbabwe
Pakistani cricket fans will not be able to see their heroes in action next month as PCB postpones the limited over series against Zimbabwe which had been scheduled from August 17th to September 17th.
“The decision was taken unanimously and in a cordial manner,” a PCB official said.
“Both boards now will look for another window other than August-September this year.”
Although no concrete reason was given for this rescheduling, some claim Pakistan does not want to endanger its chances for the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Recently, Pakistan won their ODI series against Sri Lanka and consequently moved from ninth to eighth in the ICC rankings.
A victory in the fifth one-dayer to be played today against Sri Lanka will give Pakistan a 4-1 series win and 92 points, which will confirm their place as the eighth and final team in the competition if neither Pakistan nor West Indies play any more games before the September cut off.
However, a loss in the final game can make the race to qualify too close to call and might therefore prompt a rethink by the management.
“The team has done well and has almost confirmed its position for the Champions Trophy and we don’t want to waste the effort of the boys, who have played extremely well against Sri Lanka. We’ll happily play a T20 series but as far as one-dayers are concerned, the PCB needs to look at its own interests as well and that is understandable,” said a PCB official.
Zimbabwe toured Pakistan in May earlier this year, allowing the latter to host its first domestic international series in seven years. Pakistan had intended to play the limited-overs series in Zimbabwe to show their appreciation and return in kind the gesture.
“We’ll never forget what Zimbabwe did for us and we’ll play a full-fledged tour with them in the near future, which will consist of Tests, ODIs and T20Is as well,” added the official. “Both boards can find a suitable window for such an arrangement,” said the official.