Shoaib Malik looked in sublime touch © Getty Images
Shoaib Malik looked in sublime touch © Getty Images

On March 3, 2008, Sri Lankan cricket team had faced a terror attack in Lahore during Pakistan tour. The same team, first among the top 8, agreed to tour the city for a solitary T20I. With the series already being done and dusted, in favour of hosts, the final match was labelled a ‘dead rubber’. Nonetheless, with cricket returning to Pakistan soil after a long halt of 9 years, every stand filled up before the match.

Opting to bowl, Sri Lanka struggled to take wickets at regular intervals. They are set to chase 181 for a consolation victory. Fakhar Zaman and Umar Amin took charge. The duo didn’t not go overboard with their attacking instincts but impressed one and all with their strike rotation. Zaman’s 31 and Amin’s 45 set the tempo, which was strengthened further by Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik.

Zaman and Amir churned out runs by smart running between wickets. They got their eye in, but fell after settling in. Azam batted like he has been doing for more than a year. He was composed and confident. Malik upped the ante and provided the final flourish in the innings courtesy his fifty. From Sri Lanka’s perspective, Dilshan Munaweeera and skipper Thisara Perera were the only economical bowlers. Vikum Sanjaya’s expensive last over – 23 runs – pushed Pakistan to 180 for 3.

Sri Lanka will like to notch up their maiden limited-overs encounter after a 14-match losing streak.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 180 for 3 in 20 overs (Fakhar Zama 31, Umar Amin 45, Babar Azam 34*, Shoaib Malik 51; Dilshan Munaweera 1 for 26, Isuru Udana 1 for 32) vs Sri Lanka