Sri Lanka shrugged off the disappointment of ODI series in some style as they made a fantastic turnaround to take an unassailable 2-0 lead over Pakistan in the ongoing T20I series. Despite the majority of stars opting out of the Pakistan tour due to security concerns, the Sri Lankans displayed great grit and determination to topple the top-ranked T20I side in their own den. After posting a competitive total of 182/6 in their quota of 20 overs, the tourists restricted Pakistan for 147/9 to register a comprehensive 35-run win in the second T20 international at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore on Monday. (SCORECARD)
Having already won the opening encounter by a fair margin of 64 runs, Sri Lanka now secured an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. Interestingly, this was Pakistan’s third successive T20I series loss. They had won 11 bilateral series on the trot prior to these defeats. Nuwan Pradeep (4/25) and Wanindu Hasaranga (3/38) were the main wrecker-in-chiefs for Sri Lanka as they decimated the hosts in front of a packed crowd on a Monday night. All-rounder Isuru Udana also chipped in with two crucial wickets.
Chasing a stiff target of 183 to keep the series alive, Pakistan got off to a worse possible start as they lost openers Fakhar Zaman (6) and in-form Babar Azam (3) inside the first 3 overs. Both batsmen were bowled in contrasting fashions. Fakhar’s choice of shot can be particularly questioned as he bent on one knee to scoop a full-toss outside the off-stump from Rajitha. But the left-hander only ended up guiding it straight on to his stumps.
Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed showed some intent in his short cameo off 26 off 16 balls which included three boundaries and a big six. But Wanindu Hasaranga cut-short his stay at the crease he created havoc with his wily wrist-spin in the 8th over of the Pakistan innings. Hasaranga picked up three wickets in a single over which broke Pakistan’s back in the tall chase.
His victims included the likes of Ahmed Shehzad (13), Umar Akmal (0) and captain Sarfaraz.
Built on a rollicking 77 off 48 balls from Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who was just playing his 2nd game for Sri Lanka, the tourists posted a total of . In reply, Pakistan could only muster 147 in 19 overs as they fell to a 35-run defeat in the 2nd T20I of the 3-match series in Lahore.
Just like the last match, Pakistan’s chase got off to the worst possible starts as openers Babar Azam (3) and Fakhar Zaman (6) were removed early by pacers Nuwan Pradeep and Kasun Rajitha. From there, it looked done and dusted for Pakistan but Asif Ali and Imad Wasim forged a 75-run partnership to bring the cheers back in the home side.
The duo appeared to produce something special with home advantage and backing of crowd working in their support. But Udana’s sharp inswinger dented Pakistan’s last hopes as he dismissed Wasim (47) who was threatening to take the game away from the visitors.
Asif continued to strike boundaries from the other end but the continuous fall of wickets hampered the home team.
Earlier, Rajapaksa smacked an aggressive maiden half-century as Sri Lanka made 182/6.. The 27-year-old left-hander, playing only his second T20 international, blasted 77 off 48 balls in an innings featuring six sixes and four boundaries after Sri Lanka won the toss and batted.
Rajapaksa added 94 for the third wicket with Shehan Jayauriya, who made a 28-ball 34 with four boundaries. The final match takes place at the same venue on Wednesday.