Newcomer Bhanuka Rajapaksa on Monday hit a whirlwind half-century, while Nuwan Pradeep and Wanindu Hasaranga recorded career-best bowling figures as Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 35 runs in the second Twenty20 international.
Rajapaksa’s 77 off 48 balls lifted Sri Lanka to a challenging total of 182-6 — the left-hander blasting six sixes and four fours in a maiden half-century that came in only his second Twenty20 international.
Pradeep finished with 4-25, while leg-spinner Hasaranga took 3-38 — collecting his wickets in the space of just four balls — as Pakistan were bowled out for 147 in 19 overs.
“We played quality cricket and that’s why we won,” said Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka, standing in for regular captain Lasith Malinga, who was one of 10 players missing the tour over security fears. “Rajapaksa played a master-class innings. These youngsters should get a good chance after the series and I am sure [the] selectors will look at it.”
The victory gave Sri Lanka their first Twenty20 series win over Pakistan in seven attempts as they clinched an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
“We didn’t play good cricket. Congrats to Sri Lanka, who batted, bowled and fielded better than us, and I think they deserved to win,” Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said.
Pakistan were again jolted by the pace duo of Kasun Rajitha, who dismissed Fakhar Zaman for 6, while Pradeep removed top-ranked Twenty20 batsman Babar Azam for 3.
However, it was Hasaranga who dismantled Pakistan’s middle order as he dismissed Ahmed Shehzad for 13, Umar Akmal for a golden duck and Sarfaraz (26) in the eighth over.
Umar equaled the unwanted record for most Twenty20 ducks (10) in a career shared by Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Earlier, Rajapaksa set the tone for Sri Lanka after the visitors won the toss and opted to bat.
He led Sri Lanka’s fightback after they lost Danushka Gunathilaka for 15 and Avishka Fernando for 8 by the fifth over.
Rajapaksa added 94 for the third wicket with Shehan Jayasuriya (34 off 28 balls) as they cut loose against some short bowling.
The two left-handers hit a pair of sixes and a boundary off leg-spinner Shadab Khan before both fell in the space of seven runs.
Shanaka contributed another vital cameo, swatting three fours and a six off in his 15-ball 27, as Sri Lanka added 47 runs in the final five overs.
Pakistan’s spearhead Mohammad Amir went for 40 runs in his four overs, while fellow paceman Mohammad Hasnain — who on Saturday became the youngest bowler to achieve a hat-trick in a Twenty20 international — conceded 39 in his four. Both went wicketless.
Shadab, Imad Wasim and Wahab Riaz claimed a wicket each.
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