The world of cricket has witnessed an awe-inspiring spectacle in the form of Pakistan’s extraordinary performance in the World Cup 2023. In just two matches, Pakistan has emerged as a serious threat to all nine oppositions, leaving cricket enthusiasts worldwide in sheer amazement.
In their initial encounter against the Netherlands, Pakistan showcased their prowess with a resounding victory. But it was their match against Sri Lanka that truly raised eyebrows and set the cricketing world abuzz.
Pakistan’s pursuit of 345 runs against Sri Lanka in Hyderabad was nothing short of phenomenal. They not only achieved the target but did so with a magnificent six-wicket win and an astonishing 10 balls to spare. This achievement shattered the record for the highest successful World Cup chase, surpassing Ireland’s 328 against England in 2011.
What makes this achievement even more remarkable is that this is the second time in just two years that Pakistan has successfully chased down a target of 340-plus. In 2021, they overcame a target of 349 set by Australia, marking their highest successful chase of all time. Their triumph in Hyderabad against Sri Lanka cemented their reputation as a dominant force in the cricketing world.
An exceptional winning streak characterizes Pakistan’s journey in the World Cup 2023. Their victory against Sri Lanka marked their 8th defeat of Sri Lanka in World Cup matches. This achievement pushed India’s 7-0 lead over Pakistan to second place, making Pakistan the single-biggest winning streak in World Cup history.
The hero of Pakistan’s historic chase was none other than Mohammad Rizwan. His unbeaten 131 not only shepherded the chase but also created history. Rizwan’s remarkable innings is the highest score ever by a Pakistan wicketkeeper in ODIs, surpassing Kamran Akmal’s 124 against West Indies in 2005. It’s also the second-highest score ever by a Pakistan batter at the World Cups, surpassing Rami Raja’s 119 not out against New Zealand in 1992.
The match against Sri Lanka was a daunting challenge for Pakistan. Sri Lanka had posted a formidable total of 344/9, largely thanks to centuries from Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama. However, Pakistan’s tight death-bowling, led by Hasan Ali’s four wickets and Haris Rauf’s two-wicket last over, instilled hope.
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Abdullah Shafique, replacing the struggling Fakhar Zaman, emerged as a game-changer. He registered his maiden ODI century, turning the tide in favour of Pakistan. Despite early setbacks, with Imam-ul-Haq falling cheaply and captain Babar Azam’s early dismissal, Shafique and Rizwan batted with incredible determination. Their partnership of 176 runs took Pakistan to victory.
As the match reached its climax, Abdullah Shafique was eventually dismissed for a remarkable 113. Still, Rizwan stayed till the end, guiding Pakistan to victory with an unbeaten 3rd ODI ton off 97 deliveries. The match also saw Sri Lanka dropping two crucial catches in the 43rd over off Maheesh Theekshana, sealing their fate.