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Sri Lanka

Rejuvenated Sri Lanka target clean sweep

Pak v SL, 3rd T20I, preview

Having already lost the series, Pakistan have batting concerns to address in the third and final Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka in Lahore.

Overview

Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 3rd T20I
Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Wednesday, 9 October; 6:30pm local, 01:30pm GMT

Pakistan have suffered top-order failures in each of the first two T20Is. Babar Azam, who is No.1 on the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Rankings for batsmen, has endured a couple of rare failures and has left the team's batting looking frail.

While Babar's dip in form could be a cause for some worry, it is imperative that those around him start contributing too, especially with the ICC Men's T20 World Cup just a year away.

Sri Lanka's bowlers have been on the money and they haven't let the absence of mainstays like Lasith Malinga and Akila Dananjaya be felt in this series. Nuwan Pradeep has led the attack from the front, with seven wickets. Isaru Udana and Wanindu Hasaranga have been among the wickets as well, while Kasun Rajitha has bowled economically.

The visiting team's batsmen have done well too, with Bhanuka Rajapaksa being a revealation in particular. He followed up his 32 from his debut game with 77 in the next.

Remember the last time

Sri Lanka were in some bother at 41/2, with Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando dismissed, but Rajapaksa took the opportunity to go big. His 48-ball 77, featuring six sixes and four fours, laid the foundation for the team's total of 182/6. Pakistan's chase got off on the wrong foot, as openers Babar and Zaman were sent back cheaply. Hasaranga then ran through the middle order to leave Pakistan tottering at 52/5. Imad Wasim's 29-ball 47 gave the hosts something to cheer about, but it was curtains once he was trapped in front by Udana.

What they said

Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan coach: "Despite being inexperienced, they were disciplined and did everything right, while we completely failed to implement our plan."

Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka batsman: "The difference between the Pakistan side and the Sri Lankan side – I think we were the second-string side. A lot of experts were saying we were underdogs as well. So we had less pressure."

Conditions

Going on the evidence of the previous two matches, batting will get tougher in the second innings. The weather should be dry and warm again.

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