About the Match
The confident Pakistan squad defeated Sri Lanka both in Test and One Day International series and will anticipate the same results in the upcoming T20 series that starts with the first T20 match on 30th July at Colombo. Pakistan clinched the test and one-day series win after a lapse of almost 9 years, defeating the home side 2-1 in the longer version of the game followed by tremendous success of 3-2 in the limited overs format.The upcoming two-match T20 series will be very thrilling as Pakistan will try to better it’s ICC T20 ranking with a win here; the hosts are equally motivated to remain in the top ranks by emerging victorious in the game on Thursday.
Sri Lanka secured a consolation win in the final ODI by a big margin of 165 runs after posting a massive 368 for 4 batting first; Kusal Perera smashed a 109-ball 116, captain Angelo Mathews scored an unbeaten 70 while Tillakaratne Dilshan scored 62 helping Sri Lanka earn back some of its pride.
Batsmen like Kusal Perera, TM Dilshan, Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera are looking good to perform well and will bring their experience to the table; Dhananjaya de Silva, Chaturanga de Silva, Chamara Kapugedera and Kithuruwan Vithanage will be their other notable batsmen while Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka and Milinda Siriwardana can be useful all-rounders.
The bowling unit will comprise of Lasith Malinga, Binura Fernando, NuwanKulasekara, Jeffrey Vandersay, Mathews and Dilshan, who can provide vital breakthroughs to keep a check on the Pakistani batsmen. Overall, the team looks well set to avenge the previous defeats in the series and come back stronger to win the T20 matches.
Pakistan won the ODI series with 3-2 but they lost the 5th ODI by a huge margin of 165 runs, which exposed a few gaps; they were bowled out for 203 in the 38th over while chasing the massive target of 369. Mohammad Hafeez top-scored with 37 and Azhar Ali scored 35 but none of the other batsmen put up a fight, allowing wickets to fall at regular intervals. Rahat Ali took 2 wickets but gave away too many easy runs.
However, in the 4th ODI, a brisk 95 from Ahmed Shehzad and 70 runs by Mohammad Hafeezhelped Pakistan chased down the target with more than 9 overs to spare and take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series.
The team will be led by one of the finest T20 all-rounders, ShahidAfridi, who is capable of creating magic on the field with both bat and ball. Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan were the main scorers for the team in the recent one-dayers whereas Mukhtar Ahmed and Umar Akmal will strengthen their batting.
Shoaib Malik is a formidable all-rounder and the bowling squad will consist of Anwar Ali, ImadWasim, Mohammad Irfan, Nauman Anwar, SohailTanvir, Yasir Shah and Zia-ul-Haq, who have established themselves as proven wicket-takers. After winning the tests and the one-day series, Pakistan looks strong to win the upcoming games too.
Sri Lanka will fight hard to keep its pride alive by a series win here whereas Pakistan will try to maintain its supremacy in the coming two matches. Sri Lanka needs to combine its resources and come back with a winning strategy; having clicked well as a unit in this format, we expect the hosts to win the upcoming match on Thursday