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Pakistan v Sri Lanka 1st T20I, 2017: Who Said What

"Tremendous effort from the whole team," Sarfraz said.

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

After a one-sided ODI series, while Pakistan oozed confidence, Sri Lanka looked for some sort of inspiration, going into the T20 series. Pakistan have dished out some scintillating cricket in the limited-overs version over the past few months. On the other hand, Lanka have faltered big time and have tasted very little success in recent times. They undoubtedly started as favourites to win the game and Sri Lanka, like so often, went into the contest as the underdogs.

Right from the outset, the hosts took the contest by the scruff of the neck. They hardly dished out loose deliveries, which tied down the Lankan batsmen from unleashing their strokes. They played some delightful strokes and showed promise. However, they perished at the wrong time as the likes of Usman Khan and Hassan Ali kept turning the screws on the Sri Lankan batsmen. Consequently, the Lankans were shot out for a meagre 102 runs in 18.3 overs.

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During their chase, Pakistan found themselves in all sorts of trouble, losing the vital wickets of Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam in quick succession. Wickets from Vikum Sanjaya and Sachith Pathirana were able to set the cat among the pigeons in the Pakistan camp with the early scalps. Nevertheless, Ahmed Shehzad and Shoaib Malik got proceedings back on track for Pakistan with a healthy third-wicket stand of 46 runs in 38 balls.

Sanjaya came back for his second spell to get rid of Shehzad and provided the Lankans a glimmer of a hope to stage a comeback. However, Mohammed Hafeez and Shoaib Malik shepherded the Men in Green to victory with as many as 16 balls to spare. As we move ahead, we take a look at what the players had to say after the game.

Usman Khan, Man of the Match:

I felt in good rhythm. There was some support from the pitch. Coaches always urge to stick to basics, and that’s what I try to do. I was bowling with good pace, and I just wanted to stick to line and length. I can bat a bit too. Morale is good with the team. Enjoy bowling with Fahim Ashraf — interview translated from Urdu.

Sarfraz Ahmed said:

Tremendous effort from the whole team. Boys are working really hard in all three departments, credit to the team. We try to stick to basics in T20 cricket with batsmen looking to go hard. There is scope to get in new players, we are looking at the combination. Moving up the order is an option but it’s about keeping players in form up there. Our focus is to not lose wickets in first six overs. Hoping to improve our run rate in the powerplay overs — interview translated from Urdu.

Thissara Perera:

If we look back at today’s match, we have to score runs. Our bowlers are doing pretty well. They are giving their 100%. This is one of the best bowling sides I’ve seen in last one and half years. Have to do smart things with the batting. 100% confident we’ll do better tomorrow.

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