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Rajapaksa blitz helps Sri Lanka seal series in Lahore

Pak v SL, 2nd T20I, report

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Bhandara Rajapaksa, who made his debut in the first T20I against Pakistan, smashed 77 off just 48 to help Sri Lanka to a series win in Lahore.

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His knock was studded with six sixes and four fours, and helped carry the tourists to a strong total of 182/6. Shehan Jayasuriya struck 34 to accompany him in a third-wicket stand worth 94, while Danushka Gunathilaka and Dasun Shanaka’s brisk cameos ensure the Sri Lankans started and finished strongly.

Ahmed Shehzad played an inauspicious shot
Ahmed Shehzad played an inauspicious shot

There was little joy to be had for the Pakistani bowlers, though Imad Wasim impressed in claiming 1/27 from his four overs. Often, Sri Lanka were as likely to get themselves out, losing three batsmen to run outs, including two excellent pieces of work from Shadab Khan, one a direct hit, and the other a gather and flick onto the stumps.

Pakistan struggled to get away at the start of the steep chase. One ball into the fourth over they’d lost more wickets than they had scored boundaries, listing at 11/2, and though Sarfaraz Ahmed and Ahmed Shehzad briefly threatened a recovery with a punchy four-over 40-run stand, Wanindu Hasaranga derailed the chase entirely with three wickets in an over.

Shehzad came down the track, missed and was bowled, Umar Akmal suffered a second golden duck in two innings on T20I return, pinned LBW first ball, while Sarfaraz’s attempted cut was ill-advised against a bowler intent on targeting the stumps.

Ahmed Shehzad played an inauspicious shot
Ahmed Shehzad played an inauspicious shot

From 52/5, Imad Wasim again gave Pakistan hopes of a comeback, notching eight fours in his 29-ball knock which ended on 47 when Isuru Udana had him leg-before. The end came in a hurry thereafter, the hosts losing 20/5 to finish all out for 147. Nuwan Pradeep finished with stellar figures of 4/25.

With one game to play, Sri Lanka’s 2-0 lead is unassailable, a remarkable turn-up considering the disparity between the sides’ MRF Tyres T20I Team Rankings. Pakistan’s experimental side hasn’t had the desired effect, while Sri Lanka’s second string have exceeded expectations, and will be hopeful of securing a clean sweep in the third T20I on Wednesday, 9 October.

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