Pakistan v Sri Lanka: Brilliant visitors crush hosts in first T20I as Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad flop on return

Waseem Ahmed 21:12 05/10/2019
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Gunathilaka's half-century set up a comprehensive win for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s young guns stunned Pakistan at Lahore in the first T20I between the two sides despite teenage pacer Mohmmad Hasnain claiming an excellent hat-trick for the hosts.

Riding on a superb 57-run blitz from in-form opener Danushka Gunathilaka, Sri Lanka romped their way to competitive 165-5 after being put in to bat first by Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. In reply, the No1 ranked hosts were bundled out for a measly total of 101 to hand the visitors a 64-run win and a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Despite a struggle of an innings from his opening partner Avishka Fernando, the visitors made a rapid start with the bat as Gunathilaka continued from where he left off in the final ODI at Karachi a few days ago.

His 38-ball stay at the crease was marked by eight boundaries and a humongous six before leg-spinner Shadab Khan finally got the better of him to break an 84-run opening stand. While young Hasnain did come back strongly for Pakistan in the death overs with a superb hat-trick, entertaining cameos from debutant Bhanuka Rajapaksa and skipper Dasun Shanaka helped Sri Lanka post a challenging total.

In response, Pakistan were put on the back-foot straight away by Nuwan Pradeep who dismissed star batsman Babar Azam and Umar Akmal off consecutive deliveries in the second over of the innings.

From there on, Pakistan’s innings never really recovered with a 46-run stand between skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed being the only vital contribution. Pakistan’s woes in the match were summed up by the comical run-out which ended that promising stand with both Sarfraz and Iftikhar running towards the same end ultimately.

Isura Udana turned out to be the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers with the seamer ending with figures of 3-11.

Sarfraz and his men will now hope to bounce back strongly in the second T20I between the two sides which takes place on Monday at the same venue.

Pakistan’s discards flop on international return

Head coach Misbah-uul-Haq had thrown a lifeline to the discarded Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad, and Faheem Ashraf by giving them international recalls, but the trio failed miserably on their comebacks.

While Umar was dismissed for a golden-duck, Shehzad’s comeback innings lasted just nine deliveries while fetching four runs. Meanwhile, Faheem had an expensive outing with the ball after conceding 31 runs in his three overs while also going wicket-less.

Even hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali’s return to the squad failed to deliver the required impact with the right-hander perishing for just six runs after attempting a wild slog.

Stat of the Day

With his consecutive dismissals of Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka and Shehan Jayasuriya, 19-year-old Hasnain became the youngest bowler in T20I history and second youngest overall across all three formats to claim a hat-trick.

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