The shortest format of the game is usually capsulised by batsmen dominating the proceedings and tall scores on the board. Fans throng the stadium in anticipation of witnessing a string of shots and a high-scoring game. However, the first T20I between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Lahore bucked the trend as the visitors posted a thumping 64-run win in a relatively low-scoring game.
On a slightly two-paced track, the likes of Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep and Co. used variations as Pakistan collapsed in a heap to be bowled out for a mere 101. On the batting front, Danuskha Gunathilaka continued to shine brightly with an impressive fifty and stitched a fine 84-run opening stand with Avishka Fernando. It was the kind of clinical performance the visiting side would have hoped for in the just-concluded three-match ODI series, which they lost 2-0.
Meanwhile, Pakistan, the number one ranked T20I side, have a few areas of concern going into the crucial second game. Ahmed Shehzad, the opener, on a comeback trail, continued to struggle in the T20 format of the game, scoring just four. Umar Akmal also failed on his comeback, getting out for no score. Sarfaraz Ahmed, the Pakistan skipper, also would hope to return to form after another failure. The wicketkeeper-batsman has compiled a mere two fifties in limited overs internationals this year.
On a positive note, Mohammad Hasnain, the tearaway fast bowler, gave a glimpse of his potential by becoming only the ninth cricketer to pick up a hat-trick. The pacer bowls with a good burst of pace and can also land the yorkers in the slog overs.
What: Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, 2nd T20I
Where: Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
When: Monday, October 7 (6:30 pm local)
What to expect: The weather forecast is promising with little or no chance of rain playing spoilsport. The track could again turn out to be on the slower side, with bowlers looking for variations
What they said:
“Both are experienced players and once they settle in, they will perform. So I give my full backing for them” – captain Sarfaraz Ahmed in support of the comeback duo – Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal.
Pakistan: Even though Haris Sohail hasn’t exactly made an impression in the T20 version, the Pakistan camp would be tempted to pick the southpaw. Mohammad Nawaz, the all rounder, is also an option.
Sri Lanka: Meanwhile, the tourists could continue with the playing XI that took Sri Lanka to their first win of their short limited overs tour.
Pakistan Squad: Babar Azam, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed(w/c), Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Shinwari, Fakhar Zaman, Wahab Riaz
Sri Lanka Squad: Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka(c), Shehan Jayasuriya, Isuru Udana, Wanindu Hasaranga, Minod Bhanuka(w), Lakshan Sandakan, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwan Pradeep, Angelo Perera, Lahiru Madushanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Kumara, Oshada Fernando