Sri Lanka did not require a second invitation to go for the jugular, giving themselves sight of an unlikely win before it was taken away from them by an inspired captain's innings, securing the win with 5.1 over to spare.
The match will be a virtual quarter-final as the victor would join group leaders India in the semi-finals.
"Yes, we were 30-40 runs short, obviously, but I am really proud of the guys, the way they came out and tried to defend that".
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (61) cracked a gritty unbeaten fifty as Pakistan survived some tense moments before notching up a thrilling three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their must-win Group B match to enter the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy on Monday.
Chasing a modest 237 to win, opener Fakhar Zaman cracked a 36-ball 50 at the top but Pakistan suffered an inexplicable collapse to slip to 162 for seven.
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He did, however, provide Sri Lanka with two glorious chances late on but Perera shelled the simplest of chances at mid-on with 43 runs still required, while sub-fielder Seekugge Prasanna put down an admittedly tougher chance at deep backward point with 39 needed.
Sri Lanka reacted well to the early setback, with Kusal Mendis - so impressive in striking 89 in the shock win over India on Thursday - quickly into the groove, driving nicely through the covers. Made to bat first, Sri Lanka were all out for 236 in 49.2 overs. The innings from Perera proved vital as Sri Lanka completed a chase of 322 runs in 48.4 overs and are now in contention to make it to the semi-finals.
According to the official Sri Lanka Cricket website on Saturday, the ICC event technical committee comprising Geoff Allardice, Campbell Jamieson, Steve Elworthy, Alan Fordham, Sourav Ganguly and Michael Slater confirmed Dhananjaya's replacement.
Frustration grew among Pakistan players with Mathews and Dickwella raising a resolute 78-run stand for the fourth wicket in 16.1 overs.
In what turned out to be a brilliant all-round match for wicket-keeper Sarfraz, he held a superb low one-handed catch to dismiss Dickwella after the batsman got an inside edge to Amir.
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