MORATUWA: Thisara Perera struck a brisk half-century and then took two wickets to help Sri Lanka Cricket Board President’s XI beat Pakistan by 13 runs (D/L method). This was the only warm-up for Pakistan before the one-dayers start on Saturday. Opting to bat, the President’s XI openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Tillakaratne Dilshan raced to 48 in 7.2 overs, but Mohammad Talha struck twice in the space of four deliveries to peg the hosts back. President’s XI, however, replied with three big partnerships, as four of their batsmen raised fifties.
Gunathilaka (51) first added 69 for the third wicket with Dinesh Chandimal, before Ashan Priyanjan (65) and Kithuruwan Vithanage (56) combined for a fifth-wicket stand, which yielded 98 runs. Mohammad Hafeez dealt the hosts three quick blows to reduce them to 262-7, but Thisara slammed 52 off 45 balls with three fours and three sixes to lift President’s XI to 325-7.
Pakistan began brightly with a 73-run opening stand, but President’s XI kept chipping away at the visitors and were rewarded with regular wickets. The visitors were precariously placed at 137-4, but a 68-run association between the captain Misbahul Haq and Fawad Alam brought them back into the game. Thisara, however, crucially dismissed both batsmen in the 38th over to slow Pakistan down. Shahid Afridi accelerated with a 20-ball 37, but it would not prove to be enough, as bad light forced a premature end to the game after 46.2 overs, with Pakistan still 13 runs short according to D/L.
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