Pakistan play Sri Lanka in the one-off T20I to be played at Abu Dhabi on Friday, November 25
Pakistan, barring the exception of one game in which they failed to chase down a stiff Sri Lankan score, won all the remaining four ODIs. Barely did it look like the World Cup finalists were in town, the way Sri Lanka batted and now, they will be ruing the absence of Mahela Jayawardene as well. Jayawardene injured himself in the fourth game and is on his way to Sri Lanka.
In the absence of Jayawardene, Chamara Silva made his way into the side, but lasted all of six balls for his solitary run. He is a part of the T20 squad as well, along with Dimuth Karunaratne and one of the two could play this match.
This is also a format that will suit the out-of-form Sri Lankan captain. The way he has batted and shuffled up and down the batting order, it is evident he is a tad confused about how he needs to go along. It may make sense for him to open and go after the Pakistani bowling from the word go.
Kumar Sangakkara continues to wage the lone battle for his side and he will be the Sri Lankan batsman to look out for. The one ray of hope for the Lankans was Angelo Mathews’ bowling in the fifth ODI. He came away well, with no visible traces of the injury issue that had been the cause of his non-bowling. If he can send down his four overs, the side could look to bolstering the batting.
Pakistan’s performance in the series has been unlike any of the recent Pakistani sides. They have been disciplined on the field, their batting has rarely shown collapses of the nature associated with Pakistan cricket while the bowling has been as aggressive as ever. The presence of all-rounders in the middle-order has also helped and barring Shoaib Malik, all have had a huge role to play.
Malik could get another chance to prove himself, especially given Shahid Afridi’s injury issues. It is not yet certain whether Afridi will feature in this game; he had a particularly bad night in the fifth ODI, conceding 60 runs off his 10 overs.
Pakistan will miss the services of Junaid Khan, who injured himself after bowling just three overs in the fifth ODI. With Razzaq out too, it will mean that Umar Gul and Aizaz Cheema will take over the fast bowling responsibilities.
The home team will want Umar Akmal to get another big one after his match-winning innings in the fifth ODI. He is a rather superb talent, and the way he went after the bowlers even after Pakistan had lost two wickets off successive deliveries was a treat to watch.
Pakistan are favourites to win this match, 4/5 (BetFred
), to Sri Lanka’s 6/5 (Stan James
). Sri Lanka has already lost the Test and the ODI series and will want to go home with at least the T20 series.