LAHORE: Pakistan thrashed Sri Lanka by 36 runs in the third and final Twenty20 International match to claim the three match T20I series three-nil on Sunday. However it was the Sri Lankan team that made history and won the hearts of Pakistanis by becoming the first major test playing team to play on Pakistan soil since the ghastly terror attack eight years ago.
On the fateful day on March 03, 2009 the Sri Lankan team bus and a mini-van carrying match officials was attacked by militants near the Gaddafi Stadium ahead of the third day of a Test match. The incident shut the doors of international cricket in Pakistan.
Set a challenging target of 181, Sri Lanka never looked like chasing the target due to regular strikes by Pakistan and could only manage to put up 144 in the allotted overs. Pacer Muhammad Amir set the tone for Pakistan with the ball by dismissing opener Munaweera in the second over.
Amir’s strike was followed by quick strikes by spin duo Imad Wasim and Muhammad Hafeez that meant Sri Lanka were reduced to 21-3 at one stage. Sri Lanka had a glimmer of hope in the form of a quick fired half century by Dasun Shanaka but it was not enough as Pakistani bowlers continued to hurt Sri Lanka.
Muhammad Amir finished with four wickets and Faheem Ashraf took two. Imad Wasim, Muhammad Hafeez and Hassan Ali all chipped in with a wicket each.
Earlier, being put into bat Pakistan scored 180 runs in their allotted 20 overs for the loss of just three wickets. The opening duo of Fakhar and Umar Amin gave Pakistan a solid start, scoring 70 runs in the first 10 overs with the loss of just one wicket. Fakhar Zaman was dismissed for 31. Umar Amin was dismissed by Udana on 45, leaving Pakistan 91 for 2 in 12 overs.
Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik then steadied the Pakistan innings as both were involved in a 75-run partnership off 45 balls. Babar Azam remained not out and scored 34 from 31 deliveries and Shoaib Malik starred with a swashbuckling 51 from 24 deliveries. Pakistan Sri Lanka were punished in the final over as Pakistan notched up 23 runs thanks to a 3 ball cameo from all rounder Faheem Ashraf who scored 13 runs and remained not out.