Date & Time: Wednesday, October 09, 19:00 IST
Venue: Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Pakistan
Can Pakistan avoid the embarrassment of whitewash?
At the end of the first T20I, it was perceived to be a one-off performance from Pakistan, but after the second the perception has changed drastically as Pakistan found themselves in a similar situation. It is not just Pakistan’s poor performance, it’s also about how Sri Lanka with a depleted side has shown the world it still has its fire. A whitewash win will certainly be a morale booster for the Lankan team which lost the past four series at home and away in the format. Now they brace for a rare series clincher which would keep them in high spirits when they take on Aussies in the upcoming series. On the flip side, a whitewash in the format for the No.1 ranked team against a second-string No.8 team will be a huge embarrassment for Pakistan. Adding to it, the crowd that craved for cricket for a long time doesn’t want one more disappointing day.
There is a slight temptation for Sri Lanka to give bench players a go with the series being sealed, but they are most likely to stick with their winning combination. Pakistan, on the other hand, is surely in for a few changes. Both Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal are likely to be axed and it means Harris Sohail and Iftikhar Ahmed will slot into the Playing XI. It is unclear with what Pakistan would come up within the bowling unit.
The surface in Lahore was true to its nature in the first two T20Is and it is likely to remain the same for the final game of the series as well. The forecast is for a clear day with temperatures hovering in the low 30°C degrees in the evening.
Pakistan’s head coach was quick to point on the team’s heavy dependency on Babar with the bat which he feels has led to the collapse in the first two games. But it is a rare phenomenon for Babar to not cross at least 30 on a trot. Now, it’s high time for him and also for the team to show why they are at the top in the format.
After back to back crucial knocks in the last ODI and first T20I, he hasn’t come up with the same in the second. But he was effective in the little time he was at the crease. He has a PPM of 62.5 and MDTA of 1.67 in the last 5 games in the format.
If it was Gunathilaka in the first T20I, it is Rajapaksa in the second who has played a vital role with the bat. In the first game, he also has come up with a decent score which paves path for Lankans for a late flourish. He has a PPM of 81 in the tour and 44.2 in the last 5 games.
He is becoming a better bowler after every passing match. After his impressive show against the Kiwis, he has taken his performance to the next level. He has a PPM of 61 and an MDTA of 1 in the last five games he has played, which makes him the most sorted out player in the Dream11 cricket team.
He is only Pakistan bowler who has kept the Lankan batsmen sitting tight. If not for his bowling, the scores would have been even higher. In the first game, he might not have picked a wicket but in the second he has come up with an all-round show. He has a PPM of 50.6 and an MDTA of 1.25 in the last 5 games.
Before the series, he was not perceived to be regular in the Playing XI, since he had an ordinary record in the format. But in the series, it has been a different story altogether as he made early breakthroughs which haven’t given any respite for the hosts. He has dismissed Babar twice in the series and he has a PPM of 95.5 in the tour.