World number one Twenty20 team Pakistan take on an inexperienced Sri Lanka in the first of a three-match series in Lahore on Saturday, starting their preparation for next year´s World Cup in the shortest format.
The first T20I of the three-match series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be played at Gaddafi Satdium Lahore on Saturday.
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.
Pakistan enjoy a superior record against Sri Lanka, having beaten them in eight of the 13 matches they have played against each other to date. They beat Sri Lanka in the final to win the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup in England.
Sarfaraz is also one of the most successful captains in the shortest format, winning 29 of the 34 matches he has captained, losing only five.
Date: Saturday October 05, 2019
Timing: 06:30 PM PKT
Venue: Gaddafi Stadium Lahore
Weather: The forecast looks promising for a full contest sunshine and cloudy intervals.
Conditions / Pitch Report: A decent and fresh pitch will be provided for the 1st T20I. 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.
Head to Head:
Matches: 13 | Pakistan: 8 | Sri Lanka: 5 | NR: 0
Pakistan: L W L L W (completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: W L L L L
Pakistan have a world number one ranked Twenty20 batsman in Babar Azam, while the recall of Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal further boosts their batting.
Umar Akmal is likely to slot into the middle order, while Babar Azam is likely to open. On the seam-bowling front, they will have to decide between Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari and Mohammad Hasnain.
Pakistan’s Probable XI:
1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Ahmed Shahzad / Iftikhar Ahmed, 3. Babar Azam, 4. Haris Sohail, 5. Sarfraz Ahmed (capt/wk), 6. Umar Akmal, 7. Shadab Khan 8. Imad Wasim, 9. Faheem Ashraf, 10. Mohammad Amir, 11. Usman Shinwari / Mohammad Hasnain
2. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka will miss their top players Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera and Niroshan Dickwella, who were among ten players who refused to tour Pakistan over security fears.
But Shanaka, who was one of four players who came to Pakistan when Sri Lanka played a single Tweny20 international in Lahore in 2017, put on a brave face.
The T20 series is expected to be just as difficult for this vastly under-strength squad and this is the format where they will sorely miss some of their T20 specialists like Lasith Malinga, Niroshan Dickwella and Thisara Perera so all areas of the team are somewhat weakened in this format.
One area that they will have to improve is the variation in their bowling as some of their younger talents like Lahiru Kumara were found wanting in the ODIs for that reason and became too predictable so they will have to vary their pace especially to keep the Pakistan batsmen second-guessing.
Sri Lanka’s Probable XI:
1. Shehan Jayasuriya, 2. Danushka Gunathilaka, 3. Avishka Fernando, 4. Angelo Perera, 5. Minod Bhanuka (wk), 6. Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7. Lahiru Madushanka 8. Isuru Udana, 9. Wanindu Hasaranga, 10. Kasun Rajitha, 11. Nuwan Pradeep
Players to watch:
1. Babar Azam – Batsman, Pakistan
Babar Azam is number one ranked Twenty20 batsman. Babar Azam can have a good start to the series if he takes off in a batsman friendly pitch. Babar is a smart player and plays well to the situation. He has been very consistent with the runs for Pakistan and could be one of the most important players in the series.
2. Mohammad Amir – Bowler, Pakistan
Pakistan’s fast bowlers are really capable of wreaking havoc on their day. Mohammad Amir will be looking to rekindle that spark with his accurate bowling.
3. Shehan Jayasuriya – Batsman, Sri Lanka
With form and experience both by his side, Jayasuriya is the only good candidate in Sri Lanka’s batting line-up and probably one of the batsmen to watch out.
4. Dasun Shanaka – Bowler, Sri Lanka
Dasun Shanaka is a force to reckon with while batting and can get a few wickets with his variations when he’s bowling.
Stats and Travia:
- Babar’s recent T20I record is no less fearsome than his ODI record. Since the start of 2018, he averages 54.21 in the format, with a strike rate of 134, across 16 innings.
- Only five members of Sri Lanka’s T20I squad in Pakistan played the team’s most-recent T20I, against New Zealand last month.
- Pakistan have won 13, and lost only five of their T20Is against Sri Lanka. They have won each of their last six encounters in the format.