Sri Lanka will go in search of a famous series win on Monday when they go up against Pakistan in the second of the three T20s which are being played in Lahore this week. Pakistan know if they are going to set up a decider this is a match they have to win.
Sri Lanka surprised everyone with one of their best all-round performances for a while in the opening game on Saturday and all eyes will be on them to see if they can back that up or revert to type.
You could forgive Pakistan for being taken aback by how good Sri Lanka were in that opening match because although they scored runs in the ODIs they were not really competitive in them, so it would have been a shock to the system of Sarfraz Ahmed’s men. That won’t be the case here so it will be interesting to see what they home side come up with to counteract what they faced in that first game of the series.
Pakistan won’t need telling that they didn’t bat very well in that first game and that is going to be the determining factor in this match you would think. They have some incredibly good batsmen in their ranks though so I would be surprised if they don’t deliver here. If their bowlers can deliver the goods then the hosts will be pretty confident that they can level the series and go in and win it later in the week.
The Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka deserves a lot of credit for the way he got the best out of his side in that first game, especially when you would think that confidence may well have been quite low after the easy defeats their suffered in the ODIs, which when coupled with the players who are not in Pakistan with them, would have made it pretty easy for them to throw in the towel and not really care. That wasn’t the case however.
It was a complete and perfect performance in that opening game and the question Shanaka will ask of his men is to come up with the same again. Consistency is not something we expect from a first choice Sri Lanka side though so it is anything but guaranteed. The one thing they are going to need to do if they are to come out on top here is to bowl well once again.
It was a bit of a surprise to see Fakhar Zaman not be included in the line up for the first match but that is something that is likely to be rectified given the series is on the line here. That could be the only change.
Given how well they performed and how many of their big players they are without it doesn’t really make much sense for the Sri Lankans to change anything in their side. If they are not unchanged it will be because of a late injury.
I’m tempted to take Sri Lanka to win this match at what is still a perfectly acceptable price but something tells me Pakistan will respond properly here so instead I will head off to the side markets for my bet on the game, which comes in the few player performance lines that have been priced up for the contest.
The player in question is Isuru Udana who has a line of just 27.5 which is a little low. We saw on Saturday that he’ll go up the order if needs be to clobber a few shots late on in the innings but more importantly we saw the quality of his bowling in these conditions. He picked up three wickets in that match and only needs two here to cover this line. Indeed even a wicket and eight runs or a wicket and a catch gets us past it so I’m happy to take the over given how well he has bowled on this tour.
WON – Back I.Udana’s Performance – Over 27.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365