Reluctant Sri Lanka produced a stunning turn-around to create history in Pakistan. They lost the ODIs 2-0, but completed a historic clean sweep in T20Is by thrashing the top-ranked side. Aiming to register their first-ever whitewash in the shortest format, Sri Lanka rode on debutant Oshada Fernando's brilliantly struck 48-ball 78 (with three sixes and eight boundaries) to post a challenging 147/7, then restricted the hosts for 134/6 at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. Wanindu Hasaranga, who took three wickets, won both the man of the match and man of the series awards. The 22-year-old took eight wickets in the series, two in the first and another three in the second match.
Here's the premise to the match:
Days after winning the rain-affected ODI series 2-0, Pakistan took a 360-degree turn. Now a 3-0 whitewash looms over the top-ranked T20 side as a hungrier and determined Sri Lankan Lions get ready for the final rites on their tour of Pakistan. Even without their mercurial regular skipper Lasith Malinga and other nine top-picks, who opted out of the tour due to security concerns, Sri Lanka have soundly thrashed Sarfaraz Ahmed & Co. in the two T20 matches played so far. Head coach Misbah Ul-Haq rather bluntly described Pakistan's plight when he said "losing is never good, especially against a team that is without their major players," and the legend saw "deficiencies in every department: bowling, batting and ...". That put the onus on the players. But it seems like they lost the appetite. Babar Azam, who was once hailed as Pakistan's answer to Virat Kohli, is now turning out to be a poor man's Kohli, instead. A flash in the pan, if you may. What about the skipper? He hasn't contributed to the team's cause for some time, but he's the establishment's favourite. So, he's fine. Then, there are Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad. Both failed. Akmal even managed to get two golden ducks for some unwanted record. Suddenly their bowling attack too looks like pedestrian. That's how Pakistan are in this series. One fact which intrigues everyone is, after the 2016 World T20, they have won 29 in 33 matches, then lost five in six in 2019. Another defeat, which will be equivalent to a Sri Lankan completing coup in Lahore, will surely jeopardise their numero uno status and also the preparations for next year's World Cup in Australia. So, it means Sri Lanka have done a brilliant job. If one has to read carefully enough, this tour may well be remembered as a watershed moment in the Island nation's revival. As they say, one man's loss is another man's gain, the likes of Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Wanindu Hasaranga and part-time skipper Dasun Shanaka are here to stay.
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