Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Nuwan Pradeep, and Wanindu Hasaranga starred for Sri Lanka as they achieved victory over Pakistan by a sizeable margin of 35 runs.
Leher Reddy Challuri DP 1
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Sri Lanka did not get off to the greatest of starts, with the star of the last game, Danushka Gunathilaka dismissed for 15 in the 3rd over, edging off to the keeper in an attempt to cut the ball. Bhanuka Rajapaksa began his innings with a flick down the leg side, aided by a misfield at short third man. He then hit two commanding shots on the on and off side. However, misery struck at the other end as Avishka Fernando was run out for 8 in the 5th over, taking a single that was never on.
Rajapaksa went along and started to smack some massive sixes, with a dap down to third man getting him his maiden fifty in T20 cricket. Shehan Jayasuriya accompanied him well, also scoring four boundaries in his innings. He was also run out in the 16th over for 34, but their partnership was worth a solid 94 runs. In the very next over, Rajapaksa was dismissed for an excellent innings of 77 from 48 deliveries, chasing a wide delivery and slogging it straight to deep cover.
A third wicket fell in succession as Minod Bhanuka was run out for a first-ball duck in the same over. The mini-collapse continued as Isuru Udana was bowled by a pacy full delivery for 8 in the 18th over. Dasun Shanaka, Sri Lanka’s captain’s cameo of 27* off 15 deliveries, including 3 fours and one big six down the ground lifted Sri Lanka to a great score 182-6, albeit a little short of what they would have hoped for.
Mohammad Hasnain and Amir went wicketless and were expensive too, going for 39 runs and 40 respectively off their 4 overs. Shadab Khan picked up one wicket, but was also expensive, conceding 38 runs off his 4 overs. The best pacer of the innings was Wahab Riaz, recording good figures of 1-31 off 4 overs. Imad Wasim was the best in the spin department, recording excellent figures of 1-27 off 4 overs.
Pakistan did not get off to the best of starts with the bat either, with Fakhar attempting a dilscoop that went onto his stumps, dismissed for 6 in the 3rd over. Babar Azam attempted to slog a good-length delivery angled in and chopped onto his stumps for 3 in the very next over. Ahmed Shahzad and Sarfaraz Khan were able to hold things together for a brief period, until Shahzad was eventually dismissed for 13 in the 8th over, missing a delivery that turned in sharply. Umar Akmal was dismissed on the very next delivery for a duck, trying to cut a delivery that crashed into his pads before he could, with a review not helping his cause. A third wicket fell in the over, with Sarfaraz Ahmed also attempting to cut a delivery too close to him, being bowled for 26 as the delivery turned back in sharply. Pakistan were 52-5 in 8 overs, in deep trouble.
Imad Wasim and Asif Ali put together a scintillating show, in which Imad was being especially aggressive, taking on the bowlers arially and late into his innings, showing some innovation as well. He hit 8 fours, whereas Asif, the slower partner, got himself 3. The pair put up a marvelous 75-run partnership and had Sri Lanka on the ropes for a large part in the game, but Imad was eventually dismissed LBW from a full delivery in the 16th over.
In the very next over, Wahab Riaz was also dismissed, top-edging an attempted dilscoop to the keeper for 7. On the first delivery of the next over, Shadab Khan was also dismissed, slogging the ball straight up in the air to cover for a duck. The collapse continued as in the 19th over, Asif Ali dragged a slower ball onto his stumps for 29. The innings ended on the last ball of the same over, with Mohammad Hasnain slogging the ball straight to cow corner for 1 as Pakistan’s innings folded for 147.
Lakshan Sandakan went wicketless but conceded just 33 runs off 4 overs, which was decent considering the context of the game. Kasun Rajitha was the most economical of the bunch, recording excellent figures of 1-11 off 3 overs. Isuru Udana was expensive but did pick up 2 wickets in the back end, recording decent figures of 2-38 off 4 overs. Wanindu Hasaranga conceded the same amount of runs but bowled a miraculous over that got Sri Lanka 3 wickets early on in the game, recording good figures of 3-38 off 4 overs. The pick of the lot was Nuwan Pradeep, who recorded astonishing figures of 4-25, picking up wickets during the powerplay and at the death.
Sri Lanka were able to trigger a Pakistani collapse yet again with an impressive bowling display. Their batting still has a little room to improve, but they have done enough to win the series 2-0. They have one last match to achieve a whitewash. Will they pull it off or will Pakistan hit back for their pride? Join us on the Sreenidhian on the 9th of October to know more!