T20I series: Pakistan firm favourites against depleted Sri Lanka

The Men in Green will take on the Islanders in a three-match series in Lahore

T20I series: Pakistan firm favourites against depleted Sri Lanka PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka in a three-match Twenty20 International (T20Is), starting on October 5, at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

The Men in Green are currently the number one ranked side in the world and would fancy their chances against a Sri Lankan side which will be without many of its T20 specialists, including veteran pacer Lasith Malinga, who is also the team’s captain in the shortest format of the game, and experienced all-rounder Thisara Perera. 

The series presents a good chance to the likes of opener Ahmed Shehzad and middle-order batsman Umar Akmal, who have made a comeback, to cement their place in the side.

Babar Azam, who is currently the number one ranked T20I batsman in the world, will look to continue his good run of form and make the most of what is likely to be a flat batting track in his hometown. The right-handed batsman has five scores of over 30 in his previous ten T20I innings.

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Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was hopeful that fans will turn up in huge numbers to witness an entertaining contest between the two sides.  

“Gaddafi Stadium has been one of my favourite venues and I once again look forward to the crowds’ support in the three T20Is. Led by the world number one Babar Azam, both the sides boast some exciting players in their ranks and I expect some entertaining cricket. This is an opportunity for the spectators to flock the Gaddafi Stadium to enjoy and back the two sides,” said Sarfaraz.

The visiting side will be led by all-rounder Dasun Shanaka, who has only 30 T20I matches under his belt despite making his debut in 2015.

Despite the relative lack of experience in the squad, Sri Lanka has some exciting young players in their side who will be keen on making their mark in international cricket. One of these players is opener Avishka Fernando, who has the ability of taking the game from the opposition with his belligerent batting with a T20 strike rate close to 148. 

Meanwhile top-order batsman Danushka Gunathilaka, who scored a century in the third One-day International (ODI) in Karachi, will also be looking to extend his good form in 20-over game as well.  

Sri Lanka squad

Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Angelo Perera, Bhanuka Rajapaksha, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Madushanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara.

Pakistan squad

Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain, Babar Azam (vice-captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari and Wahab Riaz.