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Rajapaksa's blistering 77 seals the series for Sri Lanka

Rajapaksa's blistering 77 seals the series for Sri Lanka

Chathura Kumar…

Touring Sri Lanka recorded an impressive victory by 35 runs in the 2nd T20I at Lahore Gaddafi stadium against the No. 01 ranked Pakistan side to seal the T20I series 2-0, making it Sri Lanka’s first T20I series win against Pakistan.

Read: Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in a T20I after almost 6 years

Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka won the toss and had no hesitation to ask his openers to step out onto the batting friendly Gaddafi pitch where Sri Lanka toppled the host for 101 to pull out an impressive 64-run victory in the first T20I to lead the series 1-0.

The visitors opted to go with an unchanged team for this contest as this combination of players brought success in the last T20I, breaking a 6 year long winless streak against Pakistan, while Pakistan brought in Fakhar Zaman and Wahab Riaz in place of Iftikhar Ahmed and Faheem Ashraf who had a bad day in Lahore last Saturday.

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Unlike the first T20I, the Sri Lankan openers couldn’t get off to a rollicking start as Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando were dismissed for 15 and 8 respectively. Interestingly, Fernando was caught in a run out yet again making it the 2nd time in the T20I series.

Rajapaksa delivers After the openers’ dismissals, experienced campaigner Shehan Jayasuriya and Bhanuka Rajapaksa who was just playing in his 2nd T20I, combined for a match defining 94-run partnership for the 3rd wicket, setting Sri Lanka up for a perfect finish.

Majority of the damage was done by Bhanuka Rajapaksha who went absolutely ballistic with his effortless six hitting ability. He hammered 6 sixers and 4 boundaries on his way to a brilliant 77 runs off 48 balls, living up to his potential and expectations.

Playing a great supporting hand, Jayasuriya contributed with a 28-ball 34 playing the second fiddle and enjoying the show at the other end.

After another crucial captain’s knock of 27 in no time by Shanaka, Sri Lanka reached 182 for the fall of 6 wickets at the end of 20 overs. Out of the 6 dismissals, 3 of them were runouts.

Seamers set the tone Defending a target of 183, Sri Lanka’s opening seamers Kasun Rajitha and Nuwan Pradeep provided the early breakthroughs, sending the dangerous duo Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam back to the dressing room. Rajitha particularly bowled a sensational opening spell of 2 overs just for 5 runs. Wanindu’s googlies After the initial mishap, Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed launched a counterattack by dispatching 3 boundaries and a six but the all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga brought Sri Lanka back into the game with a brilliant over.

The magic over by Wanindu - 06WW1W

Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal and Sarfaraz Ahmed were at the receiving end of Wanindu’s spell. Interestingly, Umar Akmal who was making a comeback to the Pakistan team, had do go through an embarrassing feat; back to back golden ducks.

That collapse didn’t stop Pakistan from slowing down as Imad Wasim launched into 5th gear and propelled the hosts’ total past 100 in quick time making a 29-ball 47 to bring back hopes of winning for Pakistan. But his dismissal in the 16th over sealed the deal for Sri Lanka.

Nuwan Pradeep who delivered a great spell at the death overs, cleared the Pakistani tail to add 4 more to his wicket tally. Pakistan could only make 147 handing Sri Lanka a 35-run victory. With that win, Sri Lanka has now taken an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the series while this will be marked as the first time Sri Lanka has won a T20I series vs Pakistan.

The 3rd T20I of the series will be held on the 9th October at the same ground.

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