Kusal: No choice but to attack stiff target


Sri Lanka opening batsman Kusal Perera struck the second fastest ODI fifty, off 17 balls, as he helped his side to a two-wicket win over Pakistan in the second ODI, and says he had no choice but to go all out.

Sri Lanka were chasing a challenging 288 to win, which for Pallekele was well above par, and Kusal and opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan put on 92 for the first wicket inside nine overs. Kusal made 68 off 25 balls.

Man of the Match Kusal said after the game: "We had to win this game after losing this first one so we played well. We didn't want to think about too many things, we took some calculated risks in the first 10 overs.

"I had to do that because the target was a bit stiff. I try to do my best."

Skipper Angelo Mathews was impressed with the openers, giving credit to Kusal and Dilshan, but was even more impressed with the way Dinesh Chandimal, who made 48 not out, made sure they got home, especially after a poor effort in the field and with the ball.

He said: "Both teams made a real game out of it, Kusal and Dilshan gave a really good start and they bowled very well to come back. But I thought Chandimal was brilliant, the way he pulled it through with the others.

"Our terrible display of fielding was embarrassing, to be honest, and we tried to put it behind us when we batted. The run out was just a misunderstanding, it happens so it's all good. Sachithra had an outstanding game with the bat and ball."

Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali lamented his side's inability to defend the target, and their letting Chandimal get the runs required after a flurry of wickets, but was still happy with their effort overall.

He said: "We had a decent total on the board but the first 10 overs were crucial. The way Perera batted it was tough to come back but I'm proud of my team for fighting back.

"When we took five wickets we needed to take another one but could not, that's what changed things. We were looking for wickets but unfortunately it didn't pay off."

The third ODI will be played on Sunday 19 July.