Pakistan v Sri Lanka, World T20 2016 warm-ups, Kolkata March 14, 2016

Hafeez, Thirimanne offer ailing teams some respite


Pakistan 157 for 5 (Hafeez 70) beat Sri Lanka 142 for 9 (Thirimanne 45, Wasim 4-25) by 15 runs

Mohammad Hafeez regained some form with an unbeaten 70 off 49 balls © AFP

Pakistan's top order moved into better touch in their only World T20 practice match, as Mohammad Hafeez composed 70 not out from 49 balls, to help set up a 15-run victory over Sri Lanka. New addition Ahmed Shehzad's 18 off 19 balls was the lightest and slowest contribution from Pakistan's top three, but it was nevertheless part of a steady foundation.

Sri Lanka's emergency no. 3, Lahiru Thirimanne, took another step towards justifying his own late selection. He made a measured 45 from 37 balls, having also top-scored for Sri Lanka in the first warm-up game, against New Zealand. Thirimanne was typically strong against spin in Kolkata, bludgeoning a six over cow corner and hitting two more fours in the seventh over bowled by Shahid Afridi. Early signs are that Sri Lanka will look to Thirimanne to alleviate the problems against slow bowling that had plagued them during the Asia Cup.

Worries over Tillakaratne Dilshan's batting were not eased by a first-ball duck, as he gloved a very fine short ball from Mohammad Irfan to the wicketkeeper. Dinesh Chandimal played good hand, which featured a rousing 18-run over against Wahab Riaz, but wickets tumbled after his departure. Angelo Mathews' stretch without a substantial score will also heighten concerns. He was part of a middle order that gave up five wickets for 27 runs, and effectively surrendered the game.

Imad Wasim was wrecker-in-chief through that period, claiming 4 for 25. Having already accounted for Chandimal, he had Chamara Kapugedara and Thirimanne caught, before slipping a quicker ball through Mathews' defences to end his spell.

In Pakistan's innings, Hafeez had begun confidently against spin, as Rangana Herath was brought on to bowl just after the Powerplay. Though initially tentative against the pace of Dushmantha Chameera, he was eventually cracking boundaries off the quick men as well. Hafeez hit nine fours and a six in his innings.

Pakistan effectively played with only 11 players, but Sri Lanka continued to experiment, trialling eight bowlers in this match. At present they appear to have a serviceable attack for the Powerplay and middle overs, but are missing the skill of Lasith Malinga at the death. Pakistan hit 51 runs off the four final overs of their innings. Malinga has arrived in India now, but remains in doubt for the first match against Afghanistan, on Thursday.

Shehzad hit a four off Nuwan Kulasekara's first over, and another off Sachithra Senanayake, but otherwise struggled to pierce the infield. He chopped a short-of-a-length Chameera ball onto his stumps in the eighth over, but Hafeez had some support from Sarfraz Ahmed and Umar Akmal, who made 13 and 19 respectively.

Mohammad Amir was miserly rather than menacing with the ball, sending down four overs for just 20 runs. Irfan was even cheaper, and took two scalps on a track that had a little bounce.

The match was played to substantial local interest. Thousands had bought tickets to the game despite it being on a Monday afternoon, and Pakistan were not without significant support. There were also signs of tight security - each of Eden Gardens' gates swarmed with Kolkata policemen, and military personnel and vehicles were also seen in abundance.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nimmie on March 16, 2016, 3:30 GMT

    Due to selectors' faults, SLan players are lacking in confidence and self-belief in themselves. Present Selectors may have been good players in their playing days, that doesn't mean they are the best to pick right talent for the future. The removal of a proven batter of lightening reflex in Dickwella & young spinner while keeping 2 aging slow movers, suggest that they aren't fit enough for the job. It also suggests they are clueless of what happens around other established Test playing Counties and how to go about on affairs of selections. Previously also the same chairman of selector picked average players for 2011 WC in disregarding extreme talent in C'dimal [ RoshenS,AngeloP,KausalS ] even after proving his capabilities both at 1st Class & International scene by not allowing him to take part in ODI t'ment in AUS just prior to theWC2011. They've scant respect for Classy players such as, KusalM&other promising youngsters in line.T20 isn't all about reckless hitting the bat2bCNTD

  • manjula on March 15, 2016, 12:57 GMT

    where is Danushka is everyone's call. Either drop Thisara or have him try couple of time as a opener. If he doesn't do well with AFG then forget about him. Move on....

    Dilshan and Mathews going through a lean patch. We have to bear with it as you cannot make it as a excuse to drop them. Mathews captaincy is also questioned? He needs to go back to basic. He is not Mahela...Keep it simple when choosing bowling option. Since Sanga in the selection team he should go with the team and support Mathews. Mathew panics.....

  • Sage on March 15, 2016, 12:13 GMT

    Its sad but without power hitters Sri Lanka will not go through. They cannot win a match for a penny right now. They do not have bowling nor batting and looked lost right now. Nothing seems to work for them. Kiwis are boasting knowing how to win against SL and I don't see they could go beyond. How many T20"s have they won since the Kiwis tour? SL played 11 games including the World T20 warm up games and won only 2. Dilshan should retire and Tissara should be dropped. The bowlers do not have any impact and the coaches do not have answers. Will SL do something different? With the present mind set of the players, coaches and the selectors I doubt it. I wonder where is Danushka Gunatilleke and Dammika Prasad? Sri Lanka retaining the World T20 is very remote.

  • Yohaan on March 15, 2016, 11:59 GMT

    No matter what.. the ultimate story is same for SL in all 3 formats in each series over 12 months... due to poor selection of batters for the job. Upul Tharanga hit crisp unbeaten run-a-ball 50 against India & another run-a-ball 50 against PK in each warm up matches (FC tour games but omitted from both series) and another 47 ball 48 in his solitary Test Vs Pk in 2015... all within his last 4 randomly limited appearances in matches vs international sides.

    Experienced Tharanga is in top form in domestic FC, hitting 3 consecutive Tons in most recent FC matches. He has a better Average (27) & SR (125) than Thiri, Shehan or even Dilshan in domestic T20, but never given a chance in T20. Overlooking such batters in every format was the main feature of dwindling SL cricket during past couple of years.

  •   Shahid Khan on March 15, 2016, 11:30 GMT

    Well played. hopefully continue this in coming matches. BTW mentioned hafeez in this article is another player which not played any match for Pakistan

  • tahmidul on March 15, 2016, 11:22 GMT

    For me the best Srilanka line up for t20 world cup is :

    Chandimal / Thirimanne / Dasun / Angelo / Kapu / Milinda / Shehan / Kula / Herath/Chameera/ Malinga

    Angelo needs to bat in the top four at any cost ... He needs some time in the pitch to set himself properly ....

  • tahmidul on March 15, 2016, 11:18 GMT

    How come thisara perrera still get selected to play international cricket I don't know .. He is just an average player who is getting chances after chances because he can hit a few boundaries ... But then again the number of matches he played , he should have done a lot more for the team ... Last 3 or 4 years , Srilanka produced couple of bad all rounders who can't bat , who can't ball like jeevan mendis , sekugge prasanna and thisara perrera...

    Srilanka need to invest their time more into the new and young players as the more experienced ones are not producing enough ..In that case , I would be happy to see milanda and dhasun getting the chances... These players can produce more for the team than the likes of prasanna , perrera or jeevan...Dilshan embarrassing himself .. Should have retired along with mahela and sanga .. Also why on earth dhammika prasad , nuan pradeep , shaminda eranga not getting chances in ODI or T20 I don't know ...

  • Arslan Khalid on March 15, 2016, 10:19 GMT

    Well played! Players are in good form

  • NOMAN on March 15, 2016, 10:05 GMT

    Good sign for Pakistani , considering Indian condition Pakistani team going to upset i believe as they are under dog in this tournament

  • Junaid on March 15, 2016, 9:53 GMT

    @Cric_Star_one. not sure about t20 but Misbah is amazing batsman for ODI's , I don't know why He retired from Odi's? I will say bad management !

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