After the conclusion of the ODI series in Karachi, which Pakistan won 2-0, it’s Lahore’s turn to host Sri Lanka for a three-match T20I series, which begins on Saturday, 5 October.
Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st T20I
Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Saturday, 5 October; 6:30pm local, 01:30pm GMT
Pakistan last hosted a Twenty20 International series at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium in September 2017. In a three-match affair against a Faf du Plessis-led World XI, the hosts won 2-1, and later played one T20I against Sri Lanka in October.
Batsmen Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman and Haris Sohail, and left-arm pacers Usman Shinwari and Mohammad Amir, who have all played crucial roles in making Pakistan the No.1 side on the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Rankings, come into the series having done well in the ODIs. They will be joined by the experienced duo of Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad, who earned recalls to the 16-member squad following strong performances in this year’s Pakistan Super League. All-rounder Faheem Ashraf, who impressed in that tournament with 21 scalps, has also been recalled.
Sri Lanka, who will be led by Dasun Shanaka, have a similar-looking squad to the one that played the ODIs. They have the batsmen in their line-up who could put the runs on the board, but they need to contribute collectively. Sri Lanka’s bowlers weren’t that incisive in the ODIs, and that is one area they will need to work on, going into the T20I leg.
Remember the last time
Pakistan and Sri Lanka last locked horns in a bilateral T20I series in 2017, when they played the first two games of the three-match series in Abu Dhabi, before moving base to Lahore for the final clash. Pakistan swept that series 3-0. The island national last won a T20I game in a bilateral contest against Pakistan back in 2012; they have won only two out of the 11 games between the sides.
In the recently concluded ODI series, Sri Lanka had their moments, fighting hard in the two ODIs (one was washed out), but Pakistan took the series 2-0.
💬 “I watch videos of legends from different countries to help myself improve the game. Most recently I am following Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.”
Abid Ali on how he learns from the best 👇https://t.co/G5j2n90Oia
— ICC (@ICC) October 3, 2019
What they said
Abid Ali (Pakistan): “It’s good that cricket is happening in Pakistan and I can’t thank both the cricket boards enough who made this possible.”
Lahiru Thirimanne (Sri Lanka): “It is very exciting as it was my first time in Pakistan and I enjoyed my experience. I would encourage other teams to come here and play.”
The forecast looks promising for a full contest. Sri Lanka lost the only match they have played at the venue batting second, while Pakistan have lost just one out of the six T20Is they have played in Lahore.