Pakistan cruise to victory in opening T20I

Sri Lanka’s white ball woes in the UAE continued as they slumped to a 7 wicket defeat to Pakistan in the first of three T20Is.

The result was in little doubt after Sri Lanka were blasted out for just 102 with Hasan Ali continuing to torment the visitors to Pakistan’s adopted home.

Sri Lanka failed to adjust to the wicket or the state of the game as they lost wickets early but kept on attacking.

Sadeera Samarawickrama and Seekkuge Prasanna would top score with run-a-ball 23’s but their efforts weren’t close to being enough as the Pakistan attack continued to torment the Sri Lankans.

Hasan bagged career best figures of 3 for 23 but the job was largely done up front by spinner Imad Wasim (1/26) and paceman Usman Khan (2/20) as well as Faheem Ashraf who bagged 1/6 in two overs castling Samarawickrama with a peach of a delivery.

The lack of middle-order muscle was acutely felt by Sri Lanka who appeared seriously out of their depth in a format they have done well in over the last year.

Pakistan appeared intent on turning the game into a contest as Fakhar Zaman (6) and Babar Azam (1) fell in a powerplay that saw the designated ‘hosts’ batting at around three an over.

Vikum Sanjaya returned excellent figures of 2/20 from his four overs claiming the scalp of openera Fakhar and Ahmed Shehzad (22) leaving Pakistan 64 for 3.

They may have been a little nervous but veterans Shoaib Malik (42*) and Mohammad Hafeez (25*) held their nerve and easily guided Pakistan past the target with 16 balls to spare.

Pakistan take a 1-0 series lead in the three match series.