Lankan Cricket team arrives in Pakistan after a decade

Sri Lankan players congratulate each other after the winning the first Twenty20 match against Pakistan at Gaddafi stadium in Lahore, Pakistan on Oct. 5, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 09 December 2019

Lankan Cricket team arrives in Pakistan after a decade

  • Pakistan promised top-level security for Sri Lankan team
  • Two test matches will be played at Rawalpindi and Karachi

ISLAMABAD: Sri Lanka’s cricket team arrived in Pakistan on Monday to play two-test series that will be the first test in Pakistan in over a decade.
Sri Lanka was the last team to play a test match in Pakistan in 2009 before the team came under terrorist attack at Lahore and the doors to international cricket were closed on Pakistan.
The test series in Pakistan was made possible after Sri Lanka toured three months ago and played an ODI and a Twenty20 series at Karachi and Lahore without any security trouble.
Pakistan’s government has promised top-level security, normally reserved for heads of state. The two test matches will be played at Rawalpindi and Karachi.
A security force of over 4,000 security, including policemen from Punjab province and the Pakistan Army, will be deployed around the Pindi Cricket Stadium where the first test starts on Wednesday. Karachi will host the second test from Dec. 19-23.
Pakistan Cricket Board’s director cricket operations Zakir Khan welcomed the Sri Lanka team members at Islamabad International Airport before the team drove to the hotel amid tight security on Monday.
Sri Lanka suffered a setback just before the departure from home when fast bowler Suranga Lakmal was ruled out due to dengue fever. He was replaced by Asitha Fernando, who has played for Sri Lanka’s under-23 and emerging teams.
The team will be led by Dimuth Karunaratne and include seasoned players like Angelo Matthews and Dinesh Chandimal. The three players were among 10 high-profile Sri Lanka cricketers who refused to tour Pakistan three months ago due to security concerns. 


Recalled Malik leads Pakistan’s win over Bangladesh

Updated 24 January 2020

Recalled Malik leads Pakistan’s win over Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh could not put a reasonable fight, making it easy for Pakistan to chase the target
  • The win further consolidated Pakistan’s chances of hanging on to their world number one ranking in T20

LAHORE: Recalled Shoaib Malik smashed a solid half-century to anchor Pakistan’s five-wicket win over Bangladesh in the first Twenty20 international in Lahore on Friday.
Malik’s 45-ball 58 not out for his eighth Twenty20 fifty as Pakistan overhauled a modest 142-run target in 19.3 over to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Bangladesh had managed 141-5 in their 20 overs with openers Mohammad Naim scoring 41-ball 43 and Tamim Iqbal hit 34-ball 39 as Pakistan’s three-man pace attack kept them in check on a flat Gadaffi stadium pitch.
The win further consolidated Pakistan’s chances of hanging on to their world number one ranking in the shortest format. If they lose any of the remaining matches — on Saturday and Monday, also in Lahore, Australia will replace them at the top.
Lahore’s foggy weather prompted Pakistan Cricket Board to start the match at 2pm (0900 GMT) but it failed to attract more than 10,000 people in a capacity of 24,000 stadium.
Bangladesh could not put a reasonable fight as Pakistan won their first match after losing six of their last seven T20 matches with one washed out.
Malik, playing his first match since February last year, was in sublime form as he hit five boundaries and added 46 for the third wicket with debutant Ahsan Ali who made 32-ball 36 with four boundaries.
Malik, fourth leading run-getter in Twenty20 internationals with 2321 in a record 112 matches, credited bowlers for the win.
“Congratulations to the whole Pakistan for this win and for hosting another match,” said Malik. “It wasn’t an easy pitch and our bowlers restricted them to a gettable total.
“It’s tough to be in and out of the team but I have been playing leagues and domestic cricket and that helped me stage a comeback in this match.
“I am happy to help achieve this win in a chase.”
But Pakistan’s chase was initially jolted when they lost world number one Twenty20 batsman Babar Azam on only the second ball into their innings, caught behind off an inside edge off fast bowler Shafiul Islam.
Shafiul was the best Bangladeshi bowler with 2-27.
Another recalled batsman Mohammad Hafeez hit three crisp boundaries and was looking in good touch before he miscued a flick and was caught off Mustafizur Rahman for 17.
Malik and Ahsan took Pakistan to 81 and before Iftikhar Ahmed (16) added a further 36 for the fourth wicket but even the fall of Iftikhar and Imad Wasim (six) did not derail Pakistan.
Earlier, Bangladesh, who won the toss and opted to bat, were off to a good start as Iqbal and Naim put on 70 for the opening wicket.
Naim, fresh from his top score of 81 against India in November last year, cracked three boundaries and a six while Iqbal had four boundaries and a six but Pakistan pulled the scoring rate between 12-15 overs which yielded just 21 runs.
Iqbal was run out in the 11th over while Naim holed out off spinner Shadab Khan in the 15th.
Skipper Mahmudullah hit two boundaries in his 14-ball 19 not out.
Pakistan handed Twenty20 debuts to opener Ahsan and pacer Haris Rauf.