30 Oct 2017 - 1:13
Pakistan mark SL’s return to Lahore with win
Lahore: Pakistan marked the return of Sri Lanka with a 3-0 Twenty20 series whitewash yesterday, as officials hoped it will help reestablish the country’s reputation for hosting international cricket.
The third and final Twenty20 match, which Pakistan comfortably won by 36 runs at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, was Sri Lanka’s first since their team bus was attacked near the same venue in March 2009.
Those attacks, which left eight people dead and seven Sri Lanka players and their staff injured, suspended international cricket in Pakistan and forced them to play at neutral venues of United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The first two matches, which Pakistan won by seven and two wickets respectively, were played in Abu Dhabi before Sri Lanka flew to Lahore in a 24-hour fly in, fly out arrangement. The match was the fourth international since the attack, with Zimbabwe playing a five-match limited over series in 2015 followed by the final of Pakistan Super League and a three-match Twenty20 series with World XI comprising of players from seven countries -- both this year.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi dubbed the match “historic”.
“This is historic because it marks the beginning of a new era of international cricket in Pakistan,” said Sethi.
However, a rampaging Pakistan side did not show any mercy to their opponents as they piled up 180-3 in their 20 overs.
Shoaib Malik, the only player from both the sides to have also featured in the fateful 2009 Lahore Test, smashed a 24-ball 51 with five boundaries and two sixes. He added 75 for the third wicket with Babar Azam (34 not out) in just 45 balls.
Openers Umar Amin (37-ball 45 with a six and three boundaries) and Fakhar Zaman (27-ball 31 with three fours) were the other contributors.
Pace bowler Mohammad Amir, playing his first international match before the home crowd after making his debut soon after the terrorists’ attacks, finished with a career best 4-13 as Sri Lanka managed 144-9 in 20 overs.Only Dasun Shanaka batted with aggression during a 36-ball 54 with five boundaries and three sixes. Thousands of fans filled Gaddafi Stadium under intense security, as the countries’ respective national anthems were played before a capacity 23,000 crowd.