Sri Lanka defeat top-ranked Pakistan by 13 runs in 3rd T20I to clean sweep series 3-0
Pakistan suffered their third straight defeat in the three-match series against Sri Lanka on Wednesday at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. It was yet another disastrous performance from the number one-ranked T20I side, who were humiliated in their own backyard by a depleted Sri Lanka side-led by Dasun Shanaka in their own backyard.
The Sarfaraz Ahmed led-side failed to chase down a moderate total of 148 runs after suffering yet another batting collapse losing the game by 13 runs. Shanaka entered the record books for becoming the first Sri Lankan captain to lead his side to a 3-0 win in a three-match T20I series away from home. Leading a young side, Shanka showed impeccable leadership qualities and marched his troops well throughout the series.
Another day and another batsman stood up for Sri Lanka after Bhanuka Rajapaksa's sensational knock in the last game. It was Oshada Fernando this time around, who took the Pakistan bowlers to the cleaners with an impressive 78 off 48 deliveries laced with eight fours and three sixes. His unbeaten knock helped Sri Lanka recover from a poor start and post a match-winning total of 147/7 in 20 overs.
Senior pacer Mohammed Amir, who did not have a great outing in the first T20Is, found his mojo back in the final encounter and was the stand out bowler for Pakistan finishing with figures of 3/27 in his four overs. Imad Wasim and Wahab Riaz picked up a wicket apiece. However, the batsmen failed to capitalise on the good show from the bowlers as Sri Lankan bowlers ran the show.
Pacer Kasun Rajitha got Sri Lanka off to a dream start by cleaning up Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman on the very first ball of the innings. After Zaman's dismissal, Babr Azam (27) and Haris Sohail (52) combined well to post a 76-run stand for the second wicket. The duo staged a great comeback after the cheap dismissal of Zaman but Sri Lankan bowlers pulled things back spectacularly after Babar's dismissal.
The Pakistan middle-order failed to deliver once again as the likes of Sarfaraz (17), Imad Wasim (3) and Asif Ali (1) were all sent back cheaply. Iftikhar Ahmed (17) and Wahab Riaz (12) added an unbeaten stand of 23 runs for the seventh wicket but the duo was left with an improbable task of chasing down 37 runs in the final two overs.
It was a monumental comeback from Sri Lanka after losing the ODI series 2-0 as they go back home with a trophy and big smiles on their faces. The result leaves Pakistan with a lot to ponder upon as newly-appointed head coach Misbah-ul-Haq is likely to face the heat.