Pakistan © AFP
On Thursday, Pakistan took a 1-0 lead in the two-match T20I series © AFP

Pakistan put up another stellar performance as they outclassed the reigning ICC World T20 champions, Sri Lanka, in the first of the two-match series as they beat the hosts by 29 runs at the R Premdasa Stadium in Colombo. Ayush Gupta takes a look at the highlights from the 1st T20I at Colombo.

Ahmed Shehzad’s knock of 46: The opener put up a stellar performance despite a shaky start by Pakistan, and held his nerves high in order to make sure he scores the initial runs and put the visitors in a strong position, making the job easier for incoming batsmen. He also put up a healthy 41-run stand for the second wicket along with Mohammad Hafeez.

Shoaib Malik’s knock of 46: Shoaib Malik scored a healthy 46 off 31 deliveries. He was also involved in two crucial partnerships. At first he put up a 31 runs stand with Ahmed Shehzad and later on with Umar Akmal, he put up 81 runs partnership.

Umar Akmal’s unbeaten knock of 46: Just like Shehzad and Malik, Umar Akmal too made his mark in the match on Thursday as he too scored an unbeaten 46 and was the fastest among the three, as it came off just 24 deliveries, including three boundaries and three big sixes. He was hugely responsible for holding Pakistan’s innings till the end, which helped them put the challenging total.

Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal’s 81-run stand: Both batsmen were the pillars of the Pakistan’s strong batting performance as it was their partnership of 81 runs for the fourth wicket that helped the visitors build a muscular innings and post a challenging total of 175. Malik contributed 31, while Akmal contributed 46 in the stand.

Dhananjaya de Silva’s knock of 31: Making his T20I debut, Dhananjaya de Silva impressed as he scored a healthy knock of 31 off 32 deliveries. Despite a dull performance by the top order, he managed to hold on to his nerves and make sure he contributed as much as he could. However, his inability to get enough support from the other end did not help him put up a big knock.

Milinda Siriwardana scores 35: Another debutant sizzled in his opening game, as Milinda Siriwardana scored 35 from 18 deliveries, which included three boundaries and a six. Although not enough to earn a victory for his team, his performance was impressive, being the top scorer for the team and securing future chances in the playing XI.

Sohail Tanvir’s three-wicket haul: It was indeed the spell of the match that took the game away from Sri Lanka. His three-wicket haul for 29 from his designated four overs, including the important and big wickets of Tillakartane Dilshan, Kithuruwan Vithange and Milinda Siriwardana was the turning points in the match.

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer and is also a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) maniac. He can be followed on Twitter @Ayush24x7)