Sri Lanka v Pakistan 2nd T20I review: Pakistan edge Sri Lanka in a close finish
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Sri Lanka v Pakistan 2nd T20I review: Pakistan edge Sri Lanka in a close finish: Pakistan had a good chance of wrapping up their memorable tour with another series win. The last game of the series offered them an excellent chance to capitalize on the momentum gained by the win in the first T20I and that is exactly what they did. Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by 1 wicket in the second T20I in the most heart throbbing T20 finish you would witness. Sri Lanka had their backs against the wall and despite putting up a much improved show fell short due to ordinary death bowling and buckling under pressure.
Lasith Malinga was happy to bat first after winning the toss. Angelo Mathews sat out due to an injury. Dasun Shanaka and Shehan Jayasuriya came in. Pakistan went unchanged. Muttiah Muralitharan, the brand ambassador of the kidney donation campaign was out there to support the noble cause and donated Rs 100,000 for the same before start of the contest.
With the openers gone early two youngsters De Silva and Jayasuriya shared a brisk stand that resurrected Sri Lanka. And just when the stand was flourishing Afridi got one to skid on with the arm to go through De Silva’s defense. Sri Lanka needed some steadying. Thisara Perera, who usually is limited to the finishing role, got a chance up the order in the absence of Mathews. However, he threw it away when he decided to come down to Malik and missed the ball to be comprehensively stumped.
Debutante Shehan Jayasuriya was the only Sri Lankan player who was treating the spinners with disdain. He kept Sri Lanka going with a 32-ball 40 before falling to Tanvir. A fabulous innings (48 off 25) from Chamara Kapugedera changed the face of the Sri Lankan scorecard. Kapugedera turned things around with plenty of boundaries and ensured Sri Lanka got a good finish. 172 was a distant dream when he came in. With a par score on the board the question was could the bowlers back it up.
The chase did not begin well for Pakistan. Binura Fernando made Shehzad pay for playing a cross batted and disturbed his stumps. The over got even better when Mukhtar was caught by Kapugedera to give Fernando his second wicket. This was exactly what Sri Lanka wanted. Malik and Hafeez decided to rebuild but before they could think about acceleration Dilshan’s fantastic stop at backward point resulted in a lot of hesitation and Hafeez was sent back as Perera made no mistake in deflecting the throw on to the stumps. The required rate was creeping up and the odds were clearly stacked against the visitors. This was when Umar Akmal decided to follow the footsteps of Hafeez and had to pay the price of taking De Silva’s arm lightly.
Things got even worse when Malik floundered dancing down the track to a flighted delivery from Sirivardana only to be stumped. The reactions showed how disappointed he was. And just when we thought Sri Lanka would secure an easy win Shahid Afridi decided to take centrestage and take it upon himself. He hit some lusty blows to the spinners and was particularly severe on Sirivardana.
Thisara Perera ended the superb 61-run stand between Afridi and Rizwan with the latter being castled off a slower delivery. After a fighting knock with the bat, Jayasuriya turned things around with the ball as well. Afridi slogged at an arm ball but missed and his off stump was uprooted. 21 runs came off the 17th over as Anwar Ali smashed two sixes and a four off Jayasuriya. 32 needed off the last three and we had a game on our hands. Ali was in no mood to spare as he hit Malinga for three boundaries in the penultimate over.
It eventually came down to 6 needed off the final over with just one wicket in hand. Mohammad Irfan walked in with a lot of advice from everyone around him. He sensibly tapped a single first ball and got Imad Wasim on strike. Binura Fernando bowled a slower one but Wasim spotted it early and came down the track to smack it over the fence! And that was it. Pakistan had for the first time defeated a team by 1 wicket in a T20I.
What a tour it has been for Pakistan. They recorded their highest ever run chase in the Test series. The ODI series victory helped them clinch a spot in the Champions Trophy. And now this incredible last-wicket win has completed the T20 whitewash and a memorable visit to the island.
Brief Scores of Sri Lanka v Pakistan 2nd T20I:
Sri Lanka – 172/7 (20/20 ov) (Kapugedera 48*(25), Jayasuriya 40(32), Malik 2-16)
Pakistan – 174/9 (19.2 ov) (Anwar Ali 46 (17)Afridi 45 (22), Fernando 2-33) Pakistan won by 1 wicket.
Man of the Match – Anwar Ali
Man of the Series – Shoaib Malik