Sri Lanka Remain Number One Despite Tanvir Fireworks
Sri Lanka 211-3 (K Perera 84) beat
Pakistan 187 (Senanayake 3-27) by 24 runs
Second Twenty20 International, Dubai
Sohail Tanvir and Saeed Ajmal gave them a fright but Sri Lanka held their nerve to earn a share of the spoils in the Twenty20 International series against Pakistan in Dubai. In doing so, they retain the number one ranking in the format.
Set a daunting 212 for victory following destructive innings from Sri Lanka’s top four - led by Kushal Perera’s 59-ball 84 - Pakistan quickly slipped to 85 for seven, with Sharjeel Khan the only man to put up a fight. However, Tanvir and Ajmal added 63 in 5.3 overs for the ninth-wicket to keep their side’s slim hopes of success alive.
Ultimately, though, there was too much to do and Lasith Malinga bounced back from conceding 20 runs from the 17th over to have Tanvir well caught by debutant Seekkuge Prasanna. Tanvir had provided Pakistani fans with much heart during his knock of 41 off 26 balls, while his accomplice Ajmal was last man out in the final over for 20 off 15 balls. Pakistan were all out for 187 to fall 25 runs short of victory.
They had earlier imploded at the start of their run chase as familiar batting frailties resurfaced. This was despite Sharjeel Khan hitting three sixes during his knock of 50 off 25 balls. Sachithra Senanayake dismissed Ahmed Shehzad (8), Umar Amin (0) and Bilawal Bhatti (0), while Prasanna accounted for Sharjeel and Umar Akmal with successive deliveries. Thisara Perera then ensured that Shahid Afridi wouldn’t, once again, be the batting hero by ending his cameo at 28 off 13 balls.
At that point, the score read 121 for eight and the end looked nigh. That was before Tanvir and Ajmal gave the crowd something to cheer.
Sri Lanka’s batsman had done just that earlier in the evening. Kushal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan put on 100 in 12 overs for the first-wicket, with Prasanna and Kumar Sangakkara then upping the tempo further.
Dilshan was dispatched by Pakistan’s sole wicket-taker Saeed Ajmal for 48 off 33 balls, but Prasanna smashed 21 off eight balls from number three before Sangakkara joined Perera. The pair added 78 runs from the final 6.1 overs of the innings, with Perera hitting four sixes and Sangakkara two during his 44 not out off 21 balls.
Pakistan’s bowlers took a pasting, with Usman Shinwari, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi all conceding more than 10 runs per over. Ajmal was the comfortable pick with two for 25 from his four overs.
The two sides will now lock horns in a five-match One-Day International series; the first match in which will be played in Sharjah on Wednesday. A three-match Test series then begins on 31st December in Abu Dhabi.
© Cricket World 2013