Pakistan 135-4 (Mohammad Hafeez 37, Umar Akmal 36*, Rangana Herath 1-18) beat Sri Lanka 135-8 (Lahiru Thirimanne 42*, Nuwan Kulasekara 18, Mohammad Sami 3-19) by 6 wickets (Duckworth / Lewis method).
Pakistani fast bowlers, Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami, ripped through the strong batting line up of Sri Lanka as the visitors clinched the 1st ODI convincingly.
The match was restricted to 42 overs due to the continuous rain interruption and the Lankan Lions managed 135 runs for the loss of 8 wickets. The Green Shirts achieved the target with six wickets in hand and 47 balls to spare.
Umar Gul (Pakistan) was declared ‘Player of the match’ for his lethal opening burst against the top class batting of the Islanders.
The first One Day International of the five match series was played at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, on Thursday, June 7, 2012.
Earlier, Mahela Jayawardene, the skipper of Sri Lanka won the toss and surprisingly opted to bat first under the overcast weather. The decision bounced back when the dangerous looking pace bowler Umar Gul, sent back their three front line batsmen for 23 mere runs in 8.4 overs. Mahela Jayawardene was declared leg before wicket for 3, Tillakaratne Dilshan was caught by Saeed Ajmal and Dinesh Chandimal was clean bowled for a duck.
Mohammad Sami was introduced by Misbah-Ul-Haq in the 13th over and he got rid of Kumar Sangakkara on the fourth ball for 10 runs. The fourth wicket was lost at 40 runs and the home side was struggling at 56-6 in 19.2 overs when Lahiru Thirimanne and Thisara Perera gave some resistance. The latter was dropped on naught by the wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed off Mohammad Sami on the first ball of the 21st over. They added 25 runs for the sixth wicket when Perera was declared lbw for 17 runs off Mohammad Hafeez.
Thirimanne held his end as Nuwan Kulasekara provided him able support and the score was enhanced to 131 as the latter lost his wicket for 18. Lahiru Thirimanne remained unbeaten for 42 off 73 balls with 3 fours as Sri Lanka scored 135 runs with two wickets in hand in 42 overs.
Umar Gul and Mohammad Sami were the star performers with three wickets each whereas Mohammad Hafeez held a couple of wickets.
Pakistan had a dismal start as they lost two early wickets for just 27 runs in 7.1 overs when Azhar Ali and the experienced Younis Khan were gone cheaply. Captain Misbah-Ul-Haq joined in with the opener Mohammad Hafeez and they steadied the innings with concentration. The duo held their nerves and continued accumulating the runs with odd boundaries as the first fifty of the innings was scored in the 15th over.
Hafeez dispatched the only six of the innings on the last ball of the 16th over to Rangana Herath and nine runs were added in the next over. They stabilised the innings by taking the score to 78 when Mohammad Hafeez was stumped smartly by Kumar Sangakkara off Hearth for 37 off 57 balls with 1 six and 5 fours.
The young gun of Pakistan Umar Akmal, joined his skipper and they kept on creeping towards the target. Umar Akaml was the most aggressive of the two and sent the ball out of the ropes frequently and they took the score to 133 when Misbah was run out for 30 from 79 deliveries with 4 fours.
Shahid Afridi scored the winning run on the first ball of the 35th over and Umar Akmal was unbeaten at the other end for 36 off 48 balls with 6 fours when the target was attained by smashing 135 runs.
Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara and Rangana Herath were the only successful bowlers with one wicket each.
Pakistan won the match easily with a big margin of six wickets and is leading the five match series 1-0 whereas the second ODI will be played at the same venue on June 9, 2012.