Medium pacer Hasan Ali on Friday grabbed three wickets to celebrate his rise to the top of the one-day rankings as Pakistan downed Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the fourth day-night international in Sharjah.
Hasan took 3-37, while spinners Shadab Khan (2-29) and Imad Wasim (2-13) also chipped in with useful wickets as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 173 in 43.4 overs.
Only Lahiru Thirimanne resisted with a 94-ball 62 on a flat pitch at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, on which Babar Azam scored a stroke-filled 69 not out and Shoaib Malik matched him, also with an unbeaten 69, to help Pakistan overhaul the low target in 39 overs.
Despite Pakistan losing three early wickets, the target was never out of reach, as Azam and Malik shared an unbroken 119-run fourth-wicket stand.
Malik smashed Milinda Siriwardana for a boundary and a six to seal the victory.
He hit three sixes in all and two boundaries in his 81-ball knock, while Azam, who had scored successive hundreds in the first two matches, had five boundaries off 101 balls.
Pakistan lost Imam-ul-Haq for two after his debut hundred in the previous match, while Fakhar Zaman fell for 17 and Mohammad Hafeez made nine.
It was Pakistan’s eighth consecutive win, including their International Cricket Council Champions Trophy triumph in England in June, while Sri Lanka succumbed to their 11th consecutive one-day international defeat.
The fifth and final match tomorrow is also in Sharjah.
“It was my childhood dream to be world No. 1 and it was my goal when I started cricket, so I am very happy that this has come true,” Hasan said.
“It’s always my aim to take wickets and anchor the team’s win, so I am again happy to be the main bowler,” added Hasan, who now has 12 wickets in the series.
Earlier, Sri Lanka got off to a disastrous start when their in-form skipper Upul Tharanga was bowled by debutant left-arm pacer Usman Shinwari for naught off his second delivery.
Shinwari was one of two changes Pakistan made from the third one-dayer, which they won by seven wickets in Abu Dhabi. Also brought back was Wasim. They replaced Fahim Ashraf and Rumman Raees.
Sri Lanka had made three changes, with Sadeera Samarawickrama making his debut.
Another left-armer, Junaid Khan, ended Niroshan Dickwella’s enterprising 16-ball 22, studded with three boundaries and a six, while Dinesh Chandimal was run out for 16.
Samarawickrama lasted just two balls without scoring before Thirimanne and Siriwardana (13) added 32 for the sixth wicket.
Shadab then removed Seekuge Prasanna (five) and Thisara Perera off successive deliveries before Hasan came into his wicket-taking acts.
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