About the Match
Sri Lanka embarks on its month-long tour of UAE this week, playing against Pakistan in a T20, ODI and Test series. The two nations will face off in the 1st T20 of a 2-match T20 series on Dec 11 at Dubai’s International Cricket Stadium, which will be then followed by the ODIs and a 3-match test series. While Pakistan has played a lot of international cricket this year and has been on a winning roll defeating South Africa on their home turf in the ODI series recently, Sri Lanka has played relatively very less cricket in the past year. It will be a challenging series for the Lankans as the players haven’t had as much exposure as the Pakistanis. It will be interesting to see the two teams bring out their best performances and try to dominate the other right from the start.
Pakistan has a good record playing in the UAE and is a tough team to beat in these conditions. They had a good run at South Africa and won the ODI series convincingly; their bowlers and batsmen are in top form and they have been preparing well for this series too. Saeed Ajmal has been amazing with his spin; he was the leading wicket taker in the 2011 series against Sri Lanka and finished with 11 ODI wickets and 18 test wickets. Mohammad Irfan and Zulfiqar Babar will be the surprise factors for most of the Lankans as some of them have never played against the two bowlers before. Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez have done very well in recent matches and Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal and Umar Amin along with the other middle order batsmen will also look forward to contribute well with their skills. Overall, the team looks very confident to start the series with a win.
The team has played very less cricket this year and comprising of many youngsters on the side who have less experience playing in international matches, Sri Lanka will find this series a challenging one. Batsmen like Chandimal and Thrimanne have good abilities to perform, however they need to support their seniors like Sangakkara and Dilshan to build strong innings against the Pakistani bowling unit; Kusal Perera will be a good resource in the batting line-up. The bowling department led by Lasith Malinga, will have players like Ajantha Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara and Suranga Kamal. The team had squared up with the Kiwis in the one-day series at home recently however the players couldn’t perform to their full ability. The conditions in UAE will be tricky and they have to adjust quickly to start the tour on a winning note.
Both teams have key resources and skills that will be advantageous in the T20 format. Sri Lanka, who will need some time to settle down here, will find it quite tough to beat the sharper Pakistan team that has recently won an ODI series. Though the result of a T20 match could go either way, this one looks to be in favor of Pakistan.
Pakistan, 1.91 @ William Hill