Putting behind the disappointment of the ODI series, Sri Lanka started the T20Is with a bang as they trumped world number one Pakistan by 64 runs to take the 1-0 lead in the three-match series on Saturday. An inexperienced Sri Lankan team put up a brilliant display in all departments of the game to register their first win of the tour. Opener Danushka Gunathilaka and pacers – Nuwan Pradeep and Isuru Udana were the stars of the show for the Islanders in the first T20I which was played in front of a packed Gaddafi crowd in Lahore.
Chasing a competitive total of 166 to win, Pakistan lost the plot early in the chase as they lost the wickets of in-form Babar Azam, Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad in no time. The hosts were reeling for 22/3 inside the first Powerplay, courtesy some brilliant bowling by Pradeep and Udana. A brilliant piece of fielding ended the crucial partnership between skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and Iftikhar Ahmed, who knitted 46 runs for the fourth wicket. Wanindu Hasaranga also chipped in with crucial wickets and never really allowed the home side batters to settle in.
From there on it was a downward slide as one Pakistan player followed the other to the dressing room and the team threatened to get bowled out for less than a 100.
Earlier, Gunathilaka’s knock of 57 runs helped Sri Lanka post a score of 165/5 in their quota of 20 overs after being asked to bat first. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Minod Bhanuka were handed their T20I debuts for the Sri Lankan side. While for Pakistan, Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad came back into the side after a long gap.
Sri Lanka raced to 84 with opener Gunathilaka scoring 57 off 38 balls including a six and eight boundaries and Avishka Fernando scored 33 off 34. Fernando and Gunathilaka brought up the team 50 in just 29 balls.
For Pakistan, Mohammad Hasnain was the lone shining spot in the first innings. He became the youngest-ever bowler to pick a T20I hat-trick. At 19 years and 183 days old, Hasnain removed Bhanuka Rajapaksa (32), Dasun Shanaka (17) and Shehan Jayasuriya (2) off successive deliveries to achieve this feat.
The ODI leg was won by Pakistan with a margin of 2-0 after the first match was washed out due to rain.