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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Pakistan's Mohammad Hasnain becomes youngest bowler to claim a T20I hat-trick

Waseem Ahmed 19:28 05/10/2019
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A remarkable feat for young Mohammad Hasnain.

Pakistan teenage pacer Mohammad Hasnain became the youngest bowler in the world to attain a T20I hat-trick after picking up three wickets in as many balls in his side’s clash against Sri Lanka at Lahore.

The 19-year-old achieved the feat in two separate overs on Saturday at the Gaddadi stadium with the successive dismissals of Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka kipper Dasun Shanaka and Shehan Jayasuirya.

The young fast-bowler was expensive in his first over of the day which leaked 12 runs but he came back strongly in the latter half of the Sri Lanka innings before achieving his hat-trick. His dismissal of Rajapaksa through a pin-point perfect yorker was reminiscent of a certain Waqar Younis with the youngster justifying his selection in the playing XI in some style.

Hasnain become the ninth bowler overall to claim a T20I hat-trick and the second from Pakistan after Faheem Ashraf performed the feat against Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Hasnain’s remarkable achievement came in only his second T20I appearance for Pakistan following his international debut against Australia in an ODI in March this year. He is the third bowler to claim a T20I hat-trick in 2019 with Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan and Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga previously attaining the feat.

The Quetta Gladiators pacer had turned heads with his displays and raw pace in the 2019 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) before earning his maiden senior Pakistan call-up. He was included in Pakistan’s squad for the 2019 World Cup in England too but failed to get a single game.

Hasnain had been a part of the Pakistan squad in their recent ODI series against Sri Lanka at Karachi as well but he was not picked in the playing XI for any of the three clashes. Having finished with overall figures of 3-37 in his four overs against Sri Lanka on Saturday, the youngster will most certainly have impressed Pakistan’s new head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq.

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India all-rounder Hardik Pandya undergoes back surgery in London

Sudhir Gupta 18:26 05/10/2019
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Hardik Pandya.

India all-rounder Hardik Pandya underwent a lower-back surgery in London on Friday before taking to social media to declare it as a success.

The 25-year-old has been plagued with back troubles for some time now and was rested for India’s recent full tour of the West Indies before being included in the squad for the recent T20 series against South Africa at home.

The Baroda-born all-rounder had complained of back issues after the final T20 against the Proteas following which a decision to have a surgery was taken by the BCCI’s medical team.

“The BCCI Medical Team consulted a panel of spine specialists in England and they recommended surgery for a long-term solution of this issue,” the Indian cricket board said in a statement released on Saturday.

“On Friday, a successful surgery was conducted. Hardik will soon commence his rehabilitation process.”

Pandya’s first issues with his lower back popped up during India’s 2018 summer tour of England but the all-rounder continued to play through the pain before finally breaking down in the Asia Cup held in the UAE.

He made his return to the Test squad for India’s year-end tour of Australia before going on to participate in the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Mumbai Indians. Pandya was part of India’s World Cup 2019 squad which lost to New Zealand in the semi-final before he was eventually rested for the Caribbean tour to follow.

The athletic India all-rounder is now expected to undergo an extensive period of rehabilitation following his surgery and will most definitely be out for the upcoming home series against Bangladesh and the West Indies.

Pandya’s surgery comes on the heels of pacer Jasprit Bumrah sustaining a lower stress fracture recently. The star pacer is expected to travel to England as well in the near future to seek further consultations for his back issues.

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