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PAK v SL, 1st T20I Review: Inexperienced visitors too fragile to handle Pakistan

Pakistan got to the 103-run target with 16 balls to spare and took a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series.

Pakistan Team
Pakistan Team celebrates a wicket. (Photo Source: Twitter)

With a lot of senior players deciding to stay out of the T20I series against Pakistan, not many expected Sri Lanka to pull off anything spectacular. The result in the first T20 at Abu Dhabi was pretty much expected, but the Lankans did throw some fight with the ball. Just the way it happened in the ODI series, it was yet another comfortable win for the hosts.

Batting first, Sri Lanka lost their first wicket off the third ball of the innings. Dilshan Munaweera was cleaned up by the unexpected new ball bowler Imad Wasim. Danushka Gunathilaka, who got going initially with some boundaries, tried way too many audacious shots and finally paid for it. Usman Khan continued his excellent start to his International career by providing the second breakthrough for his side.

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From then on, the Lankan batting woes intensified. Faheem Ashraf sent Sadeera Samarawickrama back and Ashan Priyanjan was dismissed just after the 10th over was completed. The lower order found it really hard to keep the scoreboard ticking. Whilst wickets kept tumbling, it made no sense on the skipper Thisara Perera’s part to bat at number 9.

Seekuge Prasanna struck few lusty blows, but he too failed to rotate the strike well. It was the brilliance of the Pakistani bowlers which was hogging the limelight. Hasan Ali is turning out to be a nightmare for their lower order and once again he came up with a spectacular performance.

Prasanna run-a-ball 23 somehow got them past the 100 mark, but Sri Lanka got bowled out for 102 in 18.3 overs. Hasan Ali returned with figures of 3/23 whilst Mohammad Hafeez, who was under the scrutiny for his bowling action, picked up two wickets in two overs, giving away just 10 runs.

Visitors fight, but Pakistan march on easily

Considering they had just 103 runs to defend, Sri Lankan bowlers did quite a decent job in making the batsmen work hard for their runs. Fakhar Zaman really found it difficult to play his natural game and eventually succumbed to the debutant Vikum Sanjaya. His partner Ahmed Shehzad, who was making a comeback after some time, didn’t fire on all cylinders as well.

The big break came for Sri Lanka when Babar Azam was stumped thanks to a beautiful delivery from the left-arm spinner Sachith Pathirana. The hosts were reduced to 18 in 5 overs with two men back in the gallery. Just when the fans thought this game was definitely not over, Shoaib Malik used all his experience to take Pakistan over the line without much fuss.

The 34-year-old played some lovely shots right from the outset and kept frustrating his counterparts by picking singles at regular intervals. Shehzad at the other end wasn’t contributing very well, but they were in a safe position. Sanjaya came back into the attack to pick up Shehzad’s wicket, but it was too little too late by then.

Mohammad Hafeez joined the former skipper and both eased their way out. Hafeez chipped in with some boundaries and the game was almost put to bed. Malik and Hafeez added 39 runs for the third wicket and completed the run chase without much fuss. Pakistan got to the 103-run target with 16 balls to spare and took a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series.

Brief Scores

Sri Lanka: 102 all out in 18.3 overs (Seekuge Prasanna 23; Hasan Ali 3/23, Mohammad Hafeez 2/10)

Pakistan: 103/3 in 17.2 overs (Shoaib Malik 42*, Mohammad Hafeez 25*; Vikum Sanjaya 2/20)

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