Pakistan Sri Lanka Cricket
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — An inexperienced Sri Lanka upset top-ranked Pakistan with a 64-run victory in their first Twenty20 cricket match on Saturday.
Eighth-ranked Sri Lanka scored 165-5 before dismissing hosts Pakistan for 101.
Sri Lanka was pulled back by 19-year-old Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain (3-37), who grabbed a hat trick over separate overs in only his second T20 international.
"It's a great pleasure that we were able to beat the world No. 1 side without our top guns so it's a great achievement," Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka said.
Several top Sri Lanka players, including star bowler Lasith Malinga, had pulled out of the tour to Pakistan due to security reasons and Shanaka was leading a young Sri Lanka side for the first time.
Sri Lanka opener Danushka Gunathilaka smashed a career-best 57 off 38 balls after Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed opted to field after winning the toss, hoping Sri Lanka bowlers would struggle later because of dew.
Recalled Pakistan batsmen Ahmed Shehzad (4) and Umar Akmal (0) failed in their comeback match and the hosts couldn't recover from 22-3 before being bowled out in 17.4 overs.
"No team is weak in T20 and we knew they have a strong team, they have potential and they played well today," Sarfaraz said, adding "the way they batted upfront and then grabbed our three quick wickets, that was the turning point of the match."
Hasnain became only the second Pakistan bowler after teammate Faheem Ashraf to register a hat trick in the game's shortest format. He is the youngest of the nine bowlers who have achieved this feat in T20 internationals.
Sri Lanka's Nuwan Pradeep (3-21) had Pakistan opener Babar Azam (13) brilliantly caught one-handed by debutant wicketkeeper Minod Bhanuka over his head, and Akmal was out plumb leg before wicket off the next delivery — the first ball he faced in Twenty20s since being dropped three years ago.
Shehzad, coming back into the side after more than a year, also struggled for his four runs before he dragged Isuru Udana (3-11) back onto his stumps as Pakistan lost three quick wickets inside the first five overs.
Sarfaraz (24) tried to build the innings but was bowled by leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga while attempting a big hit.
Iftikhar Ahmed top scored for Pakistan with 25.
Earlier, Gunathilaka carried his ODI form into T20s that saw the left-hander scoring a brilliant century in the third and final one-day international at Karachi.
Gunathilaka forced Pakistan to make five bowling changes in the first six overs with some powerful hitting. He completed his half century with a six off Shadab Khan.
But Pakistan did well once legspinner Shadab had Gunathilaka lbw in the 10th over. Newcomer Bhanuka Rajapaksa (32) tried to up the scoring rate by hitting two fours and two sixes before Hasnain returned and put the brakes on with a hat trick.
Hasnain had Rajapaksa leg before wicket off a superb yorker off his last ball in the 16th over and then returned in his next over to dismiss Shanaka (17) and Shehan Jayasuriya (2) off the first two deliveries.
The second and third T20s are also at Lahore on Monday and Wednesday respectively.