The young Sri Lankan side defeated the number 1 ranked T20I side Pakistan by 64 runs in the first match of the series played at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore on Saturday.
Pakistani captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and decided to field first. The Sri Lankan openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando provided a solid start to the team with aggressive strokes putting pressure on Pakistani bowling line up. It was an amazing batting display by Gunathilaka and Fernando who took advantage of the power play overs. At the end of 6 overs, Sri Lanka raced to 64 for 0.
After the power play overs, Gunathilaka was superb with his timing and reached his fifty off 32 balls. Shahdab Khan provided the breakthrough for Pakistan as he took the wicket of well set Gunathilaka for 57. The Sri Lanka openers added 84 runs in 9.4 overs. Rajapaksa came to the crease and looked aggressive with his intent. Fernando also showed his class and made batting look easy. A brilliant run out by Shahdab Khan ran out Fernando for 33. Fernando and Rajapaksa added 36 runs for the 2nd wicket. Mohammad Hasnanin took the wicket of Rajapaksa in the 16th over and then dismissed Dasun Shanaka and Shehan Jayasuriya to become the youngest bowler to pick up an hat-trick in T20Is. Sri Lanka posted 165 for 5 at the end of 20 overs.
Chasing the target of 166 runs to win, Babar Azam hit 2 boundaries before Nuwan Pradeep got the wicket of Babar with a brilliant catch by Bhanuka. In the next ball, Pradeep took wicket of Umar Akmal to put Pakistan under pressure. Isuru Udana took wicket of Ahmed Shahzad. At the end of 6 overs, Pakistan were tottering at 30 for 3.
After the power play overs, Pakistani captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and Iftikhar Ahmed tried to steady the innings for hosts. Both took singles and hit occasional boundaries. As things looked good for Pakistan, Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka produced a brilliant run out as there was confusion between the two batsmen. After discussion, Iftikhar Ahmed was declared run out. Sarfraz Ahmed and Iftikhar added 46 runs for the 4th wicket. It was a brilliant bowling display by Sri Lankan bowlers as they picked wickets at regular intervals and bowled Pakistan for 101 in 17.4 overs. Nuwan Pradeep and Isuru Udana took 3 wickets each, Hasaranga picked 2 wickets. Lakshan Sandakan was economical as he gave away 24 runs in his 4 overs.
Sri Lanka 165 for 5 in 20 overs ( Danushka Gunathilaka 57, Mohammad Hasnain 3/37) beat Pakistan 101 in 17.4 overs ( Iftikhar Ahmed 25, Isuru Udana 3/11, Nuwan Pradeep 3/21) by 64 runs.
Sri Lanka takes a 1-0 lead in the 3 match T20I series. The second match will be played on 7th October 2019 at Lahore.