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Jubilation as international cricket returns

October 30, 2017
SPECTATORS hold placards during the Twenty20 international match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka 
at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.—Reuters
SPECTATORS hold placards during the Twenty20 international match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.—Reuters

• Brave Lankans get ecstatic welcome
• Pakistan win third Twenty20 by 36 runs
• Shoaib Malik declared Man of Series

LAHORE: In a historic game at the Gaddafi Stadium, Mohammad Amir picked up four Sri Lankan wickets after Shoaib Malik’s scintillating half-century as Pakistan hammered Sri Lanka by 36 runs to sweep the Twenty20 International series on Sunday.

Sri Lanka, returning to play in Pakistan eight years after a terrorist attack on their team bus near the same venue condemned Pakistan to sports isolation, were cheered by a capacity crowd celebrating the first time since 2009 that a top cricketing side had come to Pakistan.

And they offered some resistance through Dasun Shanaka’s 54 before being blown away by Amir, who ended with 4-13, to the joy of home fans as Pakistan completed a 3-0 series triumph. They had won the first two matches, played in the United Arab Emirates.

“Thank you for coming to play here in Lahore,” Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed told the Sri Lankan team at the presentation ceremony. “I hope this leads to more international cricket in Pakistan.”

Riding on Malik’s 24-ball 51 and valuable contributions from opener Umar Amin (45) and Babar Azam (34 not out) Pakistan made 180-3 after being put into bat before they restricted Sri Lanka to 144-9.

Sarfraz singled out Faheem Ashraf’s cameo of 13 off three balls to help Pakistan post an imposing total in front of a raucous home crowd.

“Faheem’s two sixes in the last over gave a fine finish to the innings and he, along with Shadab Khan, has justified his place in the team,” Sarfraz said.

Amir, playing his first international match in Pakistan, was fired up from the start of the Sri Lankan innings and had opener Dhanushka Gunathilaka cleaned up before Imad Wasim had Sadeera Samarawickrama caught by Babar at square leg while attempting to sweep in the next over.

It was 21-3 in the fourth over when Mohammad Hafeez took a sharp catch off his own bowling to dismiss opener Dilshan Munaweera.

But Shanaka had crucial partnerships with Mahela Udawatte and Chaturange de Silva before mistiming a delivery by Faheem and being caught by Imad. It was Faheem’s second wicket after he had earlier dismissed Udawatte.

Shanaka was hard on Shadab in his 36-ball knock — all of his sixes came against the leg-spinner. But his departure paved the way for Amir to pick three wickets in a devastating second spell — castling De Silva before sending back Seekkuge Prasanna and Sachith Pathirana.

Earlier, Umar and Fakhar Zaman (31) set the tone for Pakistan’s total with a brisk opening stand of 57 in eight overs.

Fakhar’s 27-ball innings, laced with three fours, came to an end when he was cleaned up by off-spinner Munaweera.

Umar, playing his first T20 International in three years, started off slowly, but hit the first six of the innings and was eventually caught by Sri Lankan skipper Thisara Perera off left-arm pacer Isuru Udana.

Pakistani players celebrate after winning the match.—AFP
Pakistani players celebrate after winning the match.—AFP

The dismissal brought Shoaib Malik, whose tennis star wife Sania Mirza was present at the Gaddafi Stadium, to the crease and the veteran took no time to get going.

He first smashed Udana for a six and back-to-back fours in the 16th over and then hit Shanaka for two fours in the 18th to set up a grandstand finish to the innings.

He completed his half-century in the final over, but was caught at long-on, setting the stage for a late cameo by Faheem Ashraf.

Scoreboard

PAKISTAN:

Fakhar Zaman b Munaweera 31

Umar Amin c Perera b Udana 45

Babar Azam not out 34

Shoaib Malik c de Silva b Sanjaya 51

Fahim Ashraf not out 13

EXTRAS (LB-2, W-2, NB-2) 6

TOTAL (for three wkts, 20 overs) 180

FALL OF WKTS: 1-57, 2-91, 3-166.

DID NOT BAT: Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali.

BOWLING: Sanjaya 4-0-41-1 (2nb); Munaweera 4-0-26-1; Udana 3-0-32-1; Gunathilaka 2-0-16-0 (1w); Perera 4-0-28-0 (1w); de Silva 1-0-14-0; Shanaka 1-0-13-0.

SRI LANKA:

M.D. Gunathilaka c and b Hafeez 9

E.M.D.Y. Munaweera b Amir 1

S. Samarawickrama c Babar b Imad 4

M.L. Udawatte c Babar b Fahim 11

M.D. Shanaka c Imad b Fahim 54

P.C. de Silva b Amir 21

N.L.T.C. Perera c Shadab b Hasan 10

S. Prasanna c Sarfraz b Amir 16

S.S. Pathirana c Hafeez b Amir 14

I. Udana not out 0

V. Sanjaya not out 1

EXTRAS (LB-1, W-2) 3

TOTAL (for nine wkts, 20 overs) 144

FALL OF WKTS: 1-10, 2-15, 3-21, 4-57, 5-96, 6-106, 7-114, 8-142, 9-143.

BOWLING: Imad Wasim 4-0-30-1; Mohammad Amir 4-0-13-4 (1w); Mohammad Hafeez 2-0-11-1; Fahim Ashraf 4-0-19-2; Shadab Khan

2-0-31-0; Hasan Ali 4-0-39-1 (1w).

RESULT: Pakistan won by 36 runs to win three-match series 3-0.

UMPIRES: Ahsan Raza (Pakistan) and Ahmed Shahab (Pakistan).

TV UMPIRE: Shozab Raza (Pakistan).

MATCH REFEREE: A.J. Pycroft (Zimbabwe).

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Shoaib Malik.

MAN-OF-THE-SERIES: Shoaib Malik.

FIRST MATCH: Abu Dhabi, Pakistan won by seven wickets.

SECOND MATCH: Abu Dhabi, Pakistan won by two wickets.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2017