Ayesha Naseem helps Pakistan seal the series against Sri Lanka
Ayesha Naseem’s unbeaten 45 off 31 balls led the way for Pakistan as the hosts beat Sri Lanka in the second T20I on Thursday (May 26). Hasini Perera’s 35 went in vain as Sri Lanka could score 102 in the first innings.
Sri Lanka’s captain Chamari Athapaththu won the toss for the toss and opted to bat first at the Southern Club Cricket Stadium in Karachi. Anam Amin started the proceedings for Pakistan with the ball with Fatima Sana’s pace operating from the other end. Athapaththu showed her intentions with a boundary over mid-on in Amin’s second over, but that aggression became her downfall as she was caught at long-off the very next delivery. Amin’s success against Athapaththu continued as the Sri Lankan captain was dismissed for five. After trapping Sri Lanka’s captain in the front in the first match, Athapaththu found Aliya Riaz stationed at long-off.
Oshadi Ranasinghe joined opener, Hasini Perera, in the third over, and the pair added 12 runs in the next three overs without losing a wicket. Pakistan’s captain Bismah Maroof introduced the off-spin of Nida Dar in the fifth over. Dar broke the partnership between Perera and Ranasinghe as the latter tried to reverse sweep unsuccessfully. Amin took an easy catch at short third. Perera tried to increase the scoring rate and hit two back-to-back fours off Amin, including a lofted shot for a cover drive.
Maroof handed the ball to the legspinner, Tuba Hassan, in the 10th over and she continued her economical bowling in her second-ever T20I. Pakistani bowlers continued to put the squeeze as Sri Lanka could not find a boundary for over five years. Perera, frustrated by the dot ball pressure, tried to slog-sweep against Hassan and only managed to find Fatima Sana at the deep midwicket. After a lull that followed Perera’s wicket, Harshitha Madavi hit two boundaries in Fatima Sana’s third over.
Sana made a comeback in her final over as Pakistan took two wickets in the penultimate over of the innings. Sri Lanka scored 102 runs in the first innings with the loss of six wickets. Perera was the highest run-scorer for Sri Lanka with 35.
In reply, Muneeba Ali and Gull Feroza, who made her debut in the first match of the series, opened the batting for Pakistan. Nilakshi de Silva took an excellent diving catch at the mid-off to end Feroza’s innings. Iram Javed replaced Feroza at three and hit the first boundary of the Pakistan innings with an uppercut over cover-point. Kulasuriya could have easily had her second wicket of the match, but Kavisha Dilahri dropped a sitter at long-on.
Ali and Javed added 27 runs for the second wicket and took Pakistan through the powerplay without any added damage. Once the powerplay was over Athapaththu introduced Inoka Ranaweera with the ball and Ali welcomed her with a boundary straight down the ground. Ranaweera had the last laugh as Ali’s top edge ended up giving an easy catch to Ranasinghe. Ranasinghe added a wicket to her tally in the next over as Javed holed out to midwicket for 11.
After a little wobble in the middle, Maroof and Naseem scored 12 runs from Ama Kanchana’s first over to take Pakistan past 50 in the 11th over. After taking a catch to dismiss Javed, Ranasinghe missed a caught and bowled chance off Naseem in her third over. Naseem made the most of that opportunity by hitting her for a boundary in the same over. Naseem smashed Dilhari for 14 runs in an over including a whopping six over long-on and a four over midwicket. Maroof and Naseem took Pakistan closer to the target with a partnership of 50 runs in the 16th over.
Ranaweera leaked 12 runs in her final over of the match, including an overthrow that cost five runs for Sri Lanka. With three required to win from 18 balls, Naseem whipped Ranasinghe for a boundary to seal the victory for Pakistan.
Brief Score: Sri Lanka 102 for six in 20 overs (Hasini Perera 35; Tuna Hassan 1/13) lost to Pakistan 104/3 in 17.1 overs (Ayesha Naseem 45*, Achini Kulsuriya 1/11) by seven wickets