By BV Swagath
Pakistan went onto draw the T20 Series by winning the second and final match at Hambantota by 23 runs. Once again the pitch made batting very difficult and the team chasing down a low target went onto lose it by some margin. This time it was the turn of Sri Lanka as they failed to chase down a moderate target of 123.
Yasir Arafat brought the visitors back in the game by taking two early wickets. Shahid Afridi then turned the game in Pak’s favour by cleaning up Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chamara Kapugedera as SL slipped to 62 for 4 by the 12th over.
Pakistan relentlessly kept on taking the wickets with Mohammad Sami joining into the act with some hostile fast bowling. Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir strangled the scoring in their spells and that left Sri Lanka lagging behind in the run chase. Towards the end, only Skipper Angelo Mathews was left to do some magic on his own which he failed as Sri Lanka were bundled out for 99 in 19.2 overs.
The top scorer for Sri Lanka was Kapugedera and all he could get was just 19! For Pakistan, Yasir Arafat and Mohammad Sami took three wickets each. Shahid Afridi, who scored an unbeaten 52 from 33 balls and came up with 2 for 17 in 4 overs got the Man of the Match award.
Afridi fifty helps Pak to 122/6:
Pakistan struggled to reach 122/6 on a slow pitch at Hambantota. Things would have been worse for Pakistan but for Shahid Afridi’s 4th T20I fifty. Afridi scored an unbeaten 52 from 33 balls to help his side put up something on the board.
It was a dismal start again for Pakistan as their top order struggling against the moving new ball. The visitors were going nowhere when Skipper Mohammad Hafeez (24 from 34 balls) fell in the 11th over at 41/4. The innings finally got some shape thanks to a 68-run stand between Shoaib Malik (27 from 26 balls) and Boom Boom Afridi.
For the Lankans, Kulasekara was great with his 2 for 13 in 4 overs while Isuru Udana in his comeback gave away just 18 in his 4 overs besides a maiden.
Toss and Teams: Pakistan have won the toss and elected to bat first in the Second and Final T20I at Hambantota. It’s a must win game for Pakistan to save the series after an embarrassing defeat in the opener. Sri Lanka have gone into this match resting its two big guns – Skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Lasith Malinga.
Angelo Mathews has been elevated as Sri Lanka’s Captain for this game. The two players coming in the place of Mahela and Malinga are Chamara Kapugedera and Isuru Udana. For Pakistan, Yasir Arafat comes in for Umar Gul.
Sri Lanka: TM Dilshan, HDRL Thirimanne, KC Sangakkara (Wicket Keeper), CK Kapugedera, LD Chandimal, AD Mathews (Captain), NLTC Perera, SMSM Senanayake, KS Lokuarachchi, KMDN Kulasekara, I Udana
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (Captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Khalid Latif, Shakeel Ansar (Wicket Keeper), Sohail Tanvir, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Sami, Yasir Arafat