Pakistan's comeback men flop once again as Sri Lanka blaze their way to T20I series win

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No joy once again for Ahmed Shehzad who fell to a wild slog.

A lower-order fightback from Pakistan was not enough as an inexperienced Sri Lanka side made a mockery of the home team’s No1 ranking to clinch the T20I series at Lahore in style.

Having crushed the hosts by 64 runs in the first T20, Sri Lanka were in irresistible form once again as they romped their way to a 35-run win in the second of the three-match series at the Gaddafi stadium.

The visitors opted to bat first and they racked up a daunting total of 182-6 before bundling out Pakistan for just 147 inside 19 overs.

Here, we look at the key talking points.

Sri Lanka’s aggressive intent takes Pakistan by surprise once again

Bhanuka Rajapaksa played a stellar knock in Sri Lanka's win.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa played a stellar knock in Sri Lanka’s win.

Sri Lanka’s young guns had stunned Pakistan with their aggressive intent in the first T20I. And they were further emboldened in their endeavors on Monday as the visitors took the game to the Men in Green.

Despite losing in-form opener Danushka Gunathilaka early into their innings, the islanders would not take the foot off the gas with each batsman looking to score runs at every opportunity.

Playing in only his second T20I, Bhanuka Rajapaksa smashed a superb 48-ball 77 with the left-hander showing no fear at all at the crease.

Rajapaksa brought back memories of a certain Sanath Jayasuriya in a knock containing six huge sixes and four boundaries.

The 27-year-old got able support from Jayasuriya at the other end, who scored a fast 34 to help advance Sri Lanka’s cause in the middle overs.

While they did lose their way a bit after the 15th over, skipper Dasun Shanaka’s explosive 27-run cameo at the death meant that their early blitz did not go to waste.

Akmal, Shehzad flop again as Pakistan’s batting flounders

Second golden duck in a row for Umar Akmal.

Second golden duck in a row for Umar Akmal.

Having been set a daunting target of 182 to level the series, Pakistan were put on the back-foot early into their innings with star batsman Babar Azam falling cheaply to Nuwan Pradeep for the second match in a row.

As such, the pressure on Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad increased after their failure to fire on their Pakistan comebacks in the first T20I. Unfortunately for Pakistan and coach Misbah, the two players turned into duds once again with Sri Lanka leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga dismissing them off successive deliveries.

Both the batsmen failed to read the Sri Lankan’s googly with Akmal falling for a golden duck for the second innings in a row.

Pakistan’s misery was complete when Hasaranga sent skipper Sarfraz back to the pavilion in the same over to bring up three dismissals in the space of four deliveries.

There was no coming back for the hosts from that point onwards with the top-order’s second successive failure costing them once again at Lahore.

T20I Kings losing their spark

Much to mull about for head coach Misbah after another shambolic loss.

Much to mull about for head coach Misbah after another shambolic loss.

Pakistan’s rise to the top of the T20I standings had been an impressive one with the Men in Green registering 11 series win on the bounce since the turn of 2016.

However, it has all gone sour lately for Sarfraz and his men with Saturday’s loss relegating them to their third successive series defeat after recent reversals against South Africa and England.

It was not the start that Misbah-ul-Haq would have wanted to his tenure as Pakistan coach with his squad selections inviting plenty of criticism before the series had even begun.

His gamble to bring back the mercurial Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad failed to pay off with a second-string Sri Lanka side making the hosts look ordinary in front of their own fans.

Trying to fix something that was not broken in the first place backfired for the hosts with a No8 ranked Sri Lanka outfit, missing 10 key players, showing them how it is done.

With the T20 World Cup in Australia just over a year away, Pakistan will need to rediscover their spark soon and for that, they might need to revert to the basics which worked perfectly for them during Arthur’s tenure.

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