By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
World Twenty20 champs Sri Lanka suffered a humiliating 2-0 series loss to Pakistan when they went down by one wicket in the second match played at the R Premadasa Stadium.
Sri Lanka winning the toss made a competitive 172-7 and Pakistan replied with 174-9 off 19.2 overs.
Sri Lanka looked to have the game under their control when they dismissed the Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi for 45 scored off 22 balls (4 sixes, 1 four) to have them down at 107-7 in the 15th over, but man of the match Anwar Ali took the game away from them with a few lusty blows that saw Pakistan home with four balls to spare.
Anwar played a cameo knock of 46 off 17 balls that included four sixes and three fours and figured in an eighth wicket stand of 58 off 27 balls that was to be the turning point.
Although Sri Lanka fought back gamely to dismiss Anwar and Sohail Tanvir in the 19th over to reduce Pakistan to 167-9, the odds were still on Pakistan to win as they required six at a run a ball.
Imad Wasim finished the game off in style with a six off the second ball of the final over bowled by Binura Fernando to end unbeaten on 24.
For Sri Lanka who came so close to winning with a young side it was a disheartening to finish on the losing side after smelling victory at one stage.
Skipper Lasith Malinga had another poor game conceding 40 runs in his four overs for a solitary wicket. He had gone for 46 runs in the first game which Sri Lanka lost by 29 runs and his form had a telling effect in the final result of the series.
It was the second time that Sri Lanka had suffered a 2-0 whitewash in a T20 international series, the first being at the hands of New Zealand in 2009.
Sri Lanka made two changes to the side that lost the first T20I replacing Angelo Mathews and Kithuruwan Vithanage with Shehan Jayasuriya and Dasun Shanaka who both made their international debuts.
Mathews was forced to sit out this game after injuring his left wrist while batting in the first T20I.
Jayasuriya distinguished himself with a knock of 40 off 32 balls and picking up the prize wicket of Afridi to finish with figures of one for 37 to make it a memorable debut for him.
The other noteworthy contribution for Sri Lanka came from Chamara Kapugedera who gave the innings a late boost with an unbeaten 48 off 26 balls inclusive of four sixes and two fours. Pakistan played an unchanged side.
Pakistan return home on a triumphant note having beaten Sri Lanka in all three formats of the game. They won the three-Test series 2-1, the five-match ODI series 3-2 and the T20I series 2-0.
K Perera b Malik 19
T Dilshan c Hafeez b Anwar 10
S Jayasuriya c Imad b Tanvir 40
D de Silva b Afridi 14
T Perera st Rizwan b Malik 1
M Siriwardana c Mukhtar b Irfan 23
C Kapugedera not out 48
D Shanaka run out 7
Extras (lb-3, w-7) 10
Total (7 wickets, 20 overs) 172
Did not bat: B Fernando, J Vandersay, L Malinga.
Fall of wickets: 1-24, 2-32, 3-61, 4-64, 5-90, 6-145, 7-172.
Bowling: Anwar 4-0-40-1 (w1), Tanvir 4-0-44-1 (w1), Malik 3-0-16-2, Irfan 4-0-31-1, Afridi 4-0-30-1, Imad 1-0-8-0 (w5).
Mukthar Ahmed c Kapugedera b Fernando 4
Ahmed Shehzad b Fernando 7
Mohammad Hafeez run out 11
Shoaib Malik st K Perera b Siriwardana 8
Umar Malik run out 4
Mohammad Rizwan b T Perera 17
Shahid Afridi b Jayasuriya 45
Imad Wasim not out 24
Anwar Ali c K Perera b Malinga 46
Sohail Tanvir run out 1
Mohammad Irfan not out 1
Extras (lb-1, w-5) 6
Total (9 wickets, 19.2 overs) 174
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-16, 3-33, 4-40, 5-40, 6-101, 7-107, 8-165, 9-167.
Bowling: Fernando 3.2-0-33-2 (w5), Jayasuriya 4-0-37-1, T Perera 4-0-27-1, Siriwardana 2-0-17-1, Vandersay 2-0-19-0, Malinga 4-0-40-1,