Clinical Pakistan sweeps Sri Lanka
Pakistan concluded the T20I series 3-0 against Sri Lanka with a four-wicket victory in the third game in Karachi.
A measured shot from captain Bismah Maroof (15*) kept Pakistan’s composure to win on the last ball and complete a clean sweep. It was a low-scoring thriller and while Sri Lanka nearly caused a disturbance, the hosts held their ground, drawing on the experience of some of their veteran players.
Earlier, Sri Lanka decided to bat first after winning the toss and made two changes to their roster, replacing Inoka Ranaweera and Achini Kulasuriya with Udeshika Prabodhani and Sachini Nisansala. Meanwhile, Pakistan also made their own changes, bringing in Diana Baig, Omaima Sohail and Kainat Imtiaz in place of Gull Feroza, Aiman Anwer and Fatima Sana.
Unlike the previous two T20Is, Sri Lanka got off to a promising start, with fly-half Chamari Athapaththu and Hasini Perera setting up an opening position of 69 points. Anam Amin and Diana Baig started with the new ball and kept the batters in check, but not for long, as Athapaththu started with a six from Anam in the third and in the next Perara also collected his first halfway limit. . The batters continued to spin the hit and hit the boundary at times to end Powerplay at 31/0.
In the ninth, Athapaththu and Perera completed their opening 50-point partnership, securing a solid finish for Sri Lanka. However, the first wicket was not far off, and a slight miscommunication between the batters saw Perra missed on the 24th, ending their strong opening position of 69.
One brought two for Pakistan as Athapaththu lost his wicket at the following ball. Athapaththu, in an attempt to sweep Nida Dar, dominated the ball, which went straight into the longtime outfielder’s hands, ending her innings on the 37th. Sri Lanka then lost another wicket due to another confusion. Niklashi de Silva’s poor call from the striker’s side led to an off track, forcing Oshadi Ranasinghe back to the lodge on a duck.
Sri Lanka now three down for 70, needed to rebuild innings, but Harshitha Madavi was also knocked out on 1, leaving the visitors struggling at 75/4. Tuba Hassan added to Sri Lanka’s woes by removing Nilakshi from Silva on the 9th after trapping her in front of the wickets.
They continued to slide further with two more wickets in the next; first, Kainat Imtiaz sent Kavisha Dilhari back to the lodge on the 2nd, then Ama Kanchana was exhausted on the 2nd, leaving Sri Lanka stuttering at 93/7.
Anushka Sanjeewani and Sugandika Kumari managed to stabilize the ship towards the end of the heats, however. Sri Lanka hit the triple digit mark with some limitations and finished their innings at 107/8.
Pakistani fly-half Iram Javed started the chase with some limitations in the opening and immediately looked aggressive. But his aggressive approach didn’t last long as Sugandika shook his stumps when Iram (10) tried to kick the ball on the thin leg. After a down for 16, Omaima Sohail and Muneeba Ali took no chances and slowly started building the sets. But Omaima quickly lost patience and tried to break the shackles as he came out to attack Ranasinghe, only to miss and find himself perplexed on 4.
Muneeba, who had anchored the innings, also lost his wicket after making a practical contribution of 25 runs. Skipper Bismah Mahroof sent more batters past her, and Aliya Riaz and Ayesha Naseem were now tasked with getting Pakistan across the finish line.
Ayesha, who hit a winner in the second T20I, was aggressive in her approach; she collected a six on the first ball of Ranasinghe’s third, then tried to hit another, but this time she was caught on the boundary, which ended her innings on 10. Aliya, who had his eyes fixed in the middle, attempted to recover a boundary off Ranasinghe but ended up giving the longtime defender a hold on the 17th.
Pakistan were still at 34 points when Maroof came out in the middle. She began to partner with Nida, but the Sri Lankan spinners continued to pick wickets, and Dilhari sent Nida back to the lodge on the 14th.
Maroof (15*) was determined to get the hosts over the line though, and she struck with Kainat Imtiaz until the end to help Pakistan win on the last ball of the game. With their four-wicket victory in the T20I final, they won the series 3-0.
The three-game ODI series between the two teams, which is also part of the 2022-25 ICC Women’s Championship, begins on June 1.
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