Sri Lanka complete 3-0 whitewash over Pakistan in T20I Series
Losing a series in your own backyard is pretty bad but to be whitewashed by a side that had its major players missing, was not a start Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq had expected, in his first few weeks in the job.
Pakistan 134 – 6 (Haris Sohail 52; Wanindu Hasaranga 3-21, Lahiru Kumara 2-24)
Sri Lanka 147 – 7 (Oshada Fernando 78; Mohammad Amir 3-27)
Result - Sri Lanka won by 13 runs
The top-ranking T20I side, lost to Sri Lanka by 13 runs, in the third and final match of the series, at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. The Jubilee Insurance Cup was presented to Dasun Shanaka, who had led his young team to a highly impressive 3-0 win.
With the series already in the bag, Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka was happy to win the toss and bat first for the third successive time in the series. The tourist management opted to make no less than five changes from its winning combination rather than go all out to pursue its first ever 3-0 T20I against any country. Pakistan line-up did not include Ahmed Shehzad or Umar Akmal, who had both looked below par in the two previous games.
Sri Lanka lost both its openers within four overs although by then both wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed and Shadab Khan, had spilled a catch each. The departure of dangerous Bhanuka Rajapaksa to a nicely judged catch by Asif Ali on the mid-wicket fence, tightened Pakistan grip. In the first powerplay the tourists were 44-3 and in need of rebuilding their innings.
The slow left-armer Imad Wasim, a T20 specialist, was at his nagging best and had bowled out his quota of four overs for just 18 runs, with 13 dot balls to leave Sri Lanka 89-4 after 13 overs. A stylish right-handed batsman Oshada Fernando seemed the only one to find fluency and played some dashing strokes to see the score reach 100 in 14.3 overs and bring up his fifty off 33 balls. He was not finished yet and did not miss out on anything.
Ramiz Raja, former Pakistan captain and now country’s leading English commentator, very rightly pointed out on the high number of wides and rather ragged fielding display by the home team. At least four of its players – Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir and Usman Shinwari – do have issues with their mobility in the field when the heat is up in a T20I.
Shanaka with only 12 off 25 balls, struggled to time the ball in a 6th wicket stand worth 76 in 10 overs with Fernando, to keep his team in the hunt. Fernando was unbeaten at the end with 78 off 47 balls, having hit 8 fours and 3 sixes and dominating Sri Lanka’s final total of 147-7.
Pakistan, after the loss of Fakhar Zaman off the first ball of the innings, needed to be a bit circumspect on a wicket that did not allow free stroke play. Haris created room for himself to hit both inside out and over the top as his fifty-run stand with Babar Azam came at the end of the 8th over. At the half way stage the score stood at 63-1, leaving Pakistan another 85 to get in the 10 overs. Haris took 46 balls for his own fifty and the target had come down to 54 off the last 5 overs when he was stumped for 52 whilst going for a big shot of leg-spinner Hasaranga de Silva. It was to prove the turning point of the match.
Boundaries had simply dried up as Sri Lanka bowlers, backed up by keen fielding, kept up the pressure on Pakistan. The two big-hitters, Imad Wasim and Asif Ali, were both caught in the deep and Sarfaraz, not No.4 batsman in the current form, too could not get going as 28 off the last over was asking too much for any side. Man of the Match Hasaranga’s 3-21 was another outstanding effort and no praise is high enough for he took wickets at the time Pakistan was relatively comfortable in its run chase.
A breast cancer awareness month in Lahore was backed by the Pakistan Cricket Board as it invited Pakistan President Dr. Arif Alvi, himself clad in pink shirt, to pin pink ribbons to the two captains – Sarfaraz Ahmed and Dasun Shanaka. Keeping with the theme, both set of stumps too had been coloured pink.
Pakistan - Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Sarfaraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari
Sri Lanka - Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama(wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Angelo Perera, Oshada Fernando, Dasun Shanaka(c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Madushanka, Lakshan Sandakan, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara
Start Time: 14:30
Toss: Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat
Venue: Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Officials: Aleem Dar, Shozab Raza, Asif Yaqoob, Tariq Sheikh, David Boon
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