Pakistan have struggled in every department. These were the words of their head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq, following Sri Lanka’s win in the second T20I.
And clearly, they have looked lackluster in this series. Their batsmen haven’t scored enough runs and created partnerships to worry the opposition. Babar Azam, one of the top-ranked T20I batsman in the world, hasn’t fired in the two T20Is which has clearly exposed Pakistan’s batting line-up.
Recalled batsmen Ahmad Shehzad and Umer Akmal have been under the pump for not putting up runs. While Akmal has bagged two golden ducks, Shehzad has looked completely out of sorts, struggling to find the middle of the bat more often than not.
Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed is under the firing line as well as his place in the side is being questioned. He opted to promote himself up the order before the start of the series, and played the aggressor role in the second T20I, but ultimately made a bad decision to cut the ball spinning back sharply into the stumps.
Pakistan batsmen have shown their deficiency against the leg-spin of Hasaranga, something which Misbah admitted in his post-match presser yesterday. Ahmed Shehzad, Umer Akmal and Sarfraz Ahmed were nipped out in one over by Hasaranga, and interestingly every one of them failed to pick up the googly.
Sri Lankan unit has clearly played much better cricket than their opposition. Though being written off by a lot of people given their ‘second string’ stature, they have been disciplined in all three departments.
Their batting has been firing on all cylinders, which has exposed Pakistan’s ability to control the middle overs as well as their death bowling.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa played a stellar knock in the second game, putting the opposition under a lot of pressure. Pakistan didn’t get their lengths right at times, and crumbled under pressure when the attack was taken to them. While the series is won by Sri Lanka, this is something which needs to be addressed quickly before Pakistan play three T20Is against Australia next month.
Sri Lanka are unlikely to tinker with their playing XI for the third game given the success they’ve had. Pakistan are most likely to give Shehzad and Akmal another shot keeping in view the amount of support they have received from the skipper Sarfraz and head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq.
Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Babar Azam (vc), Abid Ali, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hasnain, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz
Lahiru Thirimanne (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Minod Bhanuka, Angelo Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara