Pakistan vs Sri Lanka: Second T20 Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Pakistan will look to heap more misery on Sri Lanka when the sides meet in the second T20 International in Abu Dhabi on Friday 27 October. 

With a mere 24 hours between the first and second T20I, both teams have a short turnaround time to negotiate in Abu Dhabi. Hopefully, Friday's fixture will bring significantly more runs than Thursday's lower-scorer, too.

Pakistan haven't lost any momentum gained on the back of a convincing ODI series victory against the same opposition. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, are running out of options.

Pakistan v Sri Lanka | Friday, 27 October | Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi | 18:00

To Win Match
Pakistan 26/100 | Tie 35/1 | Sri Lanka 31/10

The old and new guard came together for the hosts in the series opener, as Hasan Ali did a great job with the ball before Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez wrapped things up with the bat. Pakistan continue to find the right balance between the new, youthful players and the seasoned, older ones - this will again be on display on Friday.

Babar Azam endured a rare failure, which came with a silver lining, as the other batsmen then had to step up amid an arguable over-reliance on him. Ahmed Shehzad's 22-run cameo was rather insignificant numerically, but important on an esoteric front, as it reminded all and sundry of his importance. He had, remember, been dropped from the ODI XI.

The use of spinner Imad Wasim with the new ball again worked well. He is very much a regular at the top of the short-format attack now, but Sri Lanka can't seem to learn. Intent on chasing the quicker men, they never look properly prepared for the slower stuff - and that's where Wasim succeeds time and time again.

Sarfaz Ahmed's choice to bowl first after winning the toss was largely influenced by the pitch, but he was evidently wanting to capitalise against an out-of-form opposition order. He'll no doubt look to do the same again at the same venue, if triumphant in the flip of the coin on Friday. However, testing Pakistan's chasing ability wouldn't be a bad call.

Sri Lanka
Stand-in skipper Thisara Perera batted down the order and entered the attack late in the series opener. Both tactics need to change. While he is new to the leadership role, he can't have the added responsibility detract from his destructive ability with the bat in particular, while his bowling is also important.

Sri Lanka simply have to find away to put together bigger scores. None of the top six are managing to stick around long enough for the others to bat around them. If not Sadeera Samarawickrama, then Danushka Gunathilaka or Dilshan Munaweera need to bat for at least 15 overs and usher the team to a score of 180-plus or more.

The unit seems to have lost faith in itself, while the absence of some key players hasn't helped. Regardless, it's up to the current squad to put all that behind them and turn things around, even in part, so that the remainder of the limited-overs leg of tour doesn't take away entirely from their success in the Test series.

Personnel changes are not necessarily the answer. There is enough to go on with the current XI and, at the very least, the combination needs one more match together. If unsuccessful, tweaks can be considered for the final match in Lahore. One can't help but think that the decision to drop Upul Tharanga and others who refused to go to Pakistan was the wrong choice, though.

Verdict: Pakistan 26/100
It's really tough to see Sri Lanka enjoy a dramatic change in fortune overnight, despite the need for limited bursts of success in the shortest format of the international game.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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