COLOMBO: Pakistan ready to outclass Sri Lanka in second Twenty20 (T20) after showcasing a complete dominating performance at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo Thursday evening; they outplayed Sri Lanka in all the departments and will be looking to sign off in style when the both sides meet in the second and final Twenty20 match of the series.
The tourists won the opening fixture by 29 runs as they piled up 175 for five after choosing to bat first, and then restricted their opponents to 146 for seven.
Now Pakistan—who have already triumphed in the Test and ODI series’ on the tour—can complete a sweep over their opponents when the teams meet again at the same venue on Saturday.
Sri Lanka must be sick of the sight of Pakistan by now, having lost the Test series 2-1 and then gone down 3-2 in the one-dayers that followed.
They were well beaten in the first T20, though they did field a side that included four debutants.
Dhananjaya de Silva and Milinda Siriwardana scored 31 and 35 respectively with the bat, while leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay was the pick of the home bowlers, with figures of none for 25 from his four overs.
Fellow new boy Binura Fernando—a left-arm paceman—suffered a little more at the hands of Pakistan’s top order, though he did claim the wicket of Shahid Afridi to finish with one for 38.
The main issue for the hosts was not the performances of the new faces but instead the production, or lack of it, from the senior players in the team.
Opening pair Kusal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan were dismissed inside the first two overs of Sri Lanka’s run chase, while Angelo Mathews used up 26 deliveries to make 23.
T20 captain Lasith Malinga—who was dropped for the fifth and final ODI match last Sunday—also had a disappointing outing with the ball, leaking 46 runs at an economy rate of 11.50.
AS per ESPN Cricinfo, Malinga admitted afterward that he is struggling for form: “I am not really consistent. If I can consistently bowl the lengths that I want to bowl, I can manage my four overs. But at the moment I’m struggling with that.”
Pakistan, meanwhile, will hope for a repeat of the performance they produced on Thursday night.
Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal all contributed 46 runs to help post a competitive total, while Sohail Tanvir marked just his second T20 appearance for Pakistan this year with three for 29.
Unlike their hosts, Pakistan fielded an experienced line-up led by skipper Afridi.
It should be no surprise the visitors won in Colombo either—Sri Lanka have now lost more T20 games at home than they have won (11 compared to 10).
They have also been victorious just once in eight matches at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Shahid Afridi (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Nauman Anwar, Mohammad Hafeez, Mukhtar Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah, Sohail Tanvir, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Zia-ul-Haq
Lasith Malinga (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kithruwan Vithanage, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Chamara Kapugedera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Thisara Perera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Kulasekara, Binura Fernando, Chaturanga de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana.