Pakistan will be playing their final game of their Sri Lanka tour on Saturday, when they take on the Lankans in the second Twenty20 (T20).
Pakistan have played some brilliant cricket in this series so far. First, they knocked out Sri Lanka in the Test series, then they outclassed the hosts in the ODI series.
Continuing with their winning streak, they won the 1st T20 game against Sri Lanka as well. The question now is: will the upbeat Pakistani side finish it off in style?
One would believe they surely can, given the way they have played so far in this tour.
The top order has been fantastic and has done the bulk of the scoring, which took the pressure off the middle-order batsmen who could play their natural game. None of the Pakistani batsmen held their shots back, instead they launched a blistering attack on the Sri Lankan bowlers, eyeing the ball as if it were a football.
In the first T20 match, Pakistan yet again outplayed the Lasith Malinga-led Sri Lankan side. At one moment in the match, the hosts did have the upper hand, bowling first and keeping the run rate under check initially. But Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal relentlessly kept on hitting boundaries every over in the final overs. The two added 60 runs in the last five overs, propelling Pakistan to post a massive total of 175 runs for the loss of five wickets in 20 overs.
Malinga, who used to spearhead the Sri Lankan attack, cost them 46 runs in his spell of four overs. His fitness has been under the scanner and if he continues to perform in this manner, the Sri Lanka Cricket selectors will not hesitate to replace him with a youngster who would be up and running right from the word go.
The Sri Lankan top-order has failed miserably throughout the tournament and this match was no different. Tillekaratne Dilshan, who is one of the most experienced campaigners in the side, should have taken the onus and played more sensibly, but he was dismissed for a paltry score of six runs by Sohail Tanvir.
Pakistan have neutralised all the strategies that Sri Lanka had panned out for them throughout the series. The Sri Lankans changed their team combination many times, but were still found wanting in many ways against a formidable and confident Pakistan.
Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga (c), Tilakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kithruwan Vithanage, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Chamara Kapugedera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Thisara Perera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Kulasekara, Binura Fernando, Chaturanga de Silva, Milinda Siriwardene.
Pakistan: Shahid Afridi (c), Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan, Mukhtar Ahmed, Nauman Anwar, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Yasir Shah, Imad Wasim, Zia-ul-Haq.
2nd T20 - Pakistan vs Sri Lanka
Date- 1 August
Venue – R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Time – 7pm local time (7pm IST)