Pakistan v Sri Lanka, only Twenty20, Abu Dhabi November 24, 2011

World Twenty20 plans begin here


Match facts

Friday, November 25
Start time 2000 (1600 GMT)

Big Picture

Twenty20 might have become the origin of everything that is bad (or good, depending on your affiliation) about cricket, but the international Twenty20 game has had almost no role to play in that development. Consider these stats: we have had 32 Tests so far in 2011 and 139 ODIs - a number inflated by the World Cup, no doubt - but only a piddling 19 Twenty20 internationals. Comparing that number against the 74 fixtures IPL 2011 alone had, gives you even better perspective of the space T20Is occupy.

T20Is have been reduced to irrelevant one- or two-match series, shoe-horned at either end of long bilateral tours. The stakes are so low that teams don't take these games seriously. A part of the reason is the quirky scheduling of the World Twenty20. Initially planned as a biannual event that would lend context to the format, it made three London-bus appearances in four years, before hibernating out of our conscious. The next edition will be held in September 2012 in Sri Lanka, and teams will want to start drawing up plans now, after a year dominated by the World Cup and a clutch of marquee Test series.

Sri Lanka haven't looked like winning anything in the longer formats since the World Cup. Indeed, they have lost all their Test and ODI series since then. However, in that same period, they have been unbeaten in Twenty20s, and are in the middle of an impressive sequence of five successive wins. They will be desperate to extend that run and build momentum in the lead-up to the World Twenty at home, even as they seek succour from their reversals in the other formats.

Pakistan have always impressed in Twenty20s, a six-match losing run last year notwithstanding. They have won the World Twenty20 once, and made the final and the semi-finals on the other two occasions. Their fortunes next year will hinge on how the team responds to Misbah-ul-Haq's leadership. His safety-first method has been an unequivocal success in the Test and ODI versions, but it remains to be seen whether it will work in Twenty20s.

Form guide

Pakistan: WWLWL (most recent first)
Sri Lanka: WWWWW

Watch out for …

Misbah-ul-Haq is now known for his equanimity as much as his poetic forward defence. He has moulded the Pakistan side in his own image, leading to the increasing popularity of the hash-tag #TeamMisbah on Twitter. When he first announced himself, Misbah was anything but the obdurate middle-order milker that he has become now. He lit up the inaugural World Twenty20 with a bunch of audacious innings that took Pakistan to within a shot of glory. Which version of Misbah will be on display in this game?

At various points during the tour Tillakaratne Dilshan has looked tired, indignant, sad and frustrated. By the end of the ODI series, with his form and his side's fortunes in a seemingly terminal slump, his dominant expression seemed to suggest resignation. The chance to thrash it around in the shortest format should lift his spirits; on Friday, no one will question his shot-selection if he gets out playing those loose on-the-up heaves.

Team news

In Mahela Jayawardene's absence, Sri Lanka might be forced to open with Dinesh Chandimal, unless Upul Tharanga gets a look in. Given his poor ODI form, that is unlikely.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 2 Dinesh Chandimal, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Chamara Silva, 5 Dimuth Karunaratne, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Dilruwan Perera/Kosala Kulasekara, 9 Thisara Perara, 10 Lasith Malinga, 10 Dilhara Fernando

Pakistan have 14 fit players in their squad, of which Abdur Rehman and Sarfraz Ahmed are almost sure to miss out.

Pakistan (possible): 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Imran Farhat/Asad Shafiq, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Umar Akmal (wk), 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Sohail Tanvir, 9 Aizaz Cheema, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Saeed Ajmal

Stats and trivia

  • There's a Pakistan traffic-jam at the head of the list of leading wicket-takers in the format. Shahid Afridi has 53, followed by Umar Gul (47) and Saeed Ajmal (45).

  • Dilshan is one of only five T20I centurions. Jayawardene is another, but he isn't around for this game


"It will be a new game on Friday and a change of format, so I hope the players lift themselves."
Tillakaratne Dilshan hopes a change in format will lead to a change in fortunes

"He still has a lot of cricket in him and just needs one innings to get back in touch."
Misbah-ul-Haq backs Shoaib Malik to come good soon

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sampi72 on November 25, 2011, 16:13 GMT

    If sri lanka Can not re build the 20-20 team to next world cup with Chamara silva .I can not understand why we can not test Bhanuka rajapakse at least in 20-20 format.I think he is the next Sanath Jayasuriya in Sri Lanka Cricket.We need to grow young side inthe 20-20 format under the experience of Dilly,kumar,mahela.Youngsters like Bhanuka,Kusal J,Dilshan Munaweera,sachith pathirana should be tested

  • dummy4fb on November 25, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    Need a massive victory.. Mahela Jayawardene's absence wont effect the victory, Go Lankans Go :)

  • dummy4fb on November 25, 2011, 15:54 GMT

    srilanka win but odi seris lost becous:;;;;....... win or lost we never mind we are the srilankans we love srilankaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • dummy4fb on November 25, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    Salam : My Lovely Team Pakistani The Gr8: Wishing you best of luck in every match : My all prayers are with you : You are causing to Bright the Name of my lovely country Pakistan the GR8 : Boom Boom Afridi : Shahid Khan Afridi Is in real the Backbone of Pakistani Team Loving you Green Shirts :

  • dummy4fb on November 25, 2011, 15:40 GMT

    I wish to srilankan team.i think dilshan come to his form......

  • dummy4fb on November 25, 2011, 15:39 GMT

    go team pakistan.........wish u a gud luk..

  • dummy4fb on November 25, 2011, 15:38 GMT

    Ajmal Iz The Best

  • dummy4fb on November 25, 2011, 15:21 GMT

    Why not Sarfraz ? rest Younas

  • g.narsimha on November 25, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    Too much noise after beating a very deplated SL with just 2 bats man of iternational standard SAGAKARA& JAYAWARDHANE& one boler in LASITHMALNGA,rest are just playing as tharanga,dilshan& mathew are strugling.The SL team is in the process of rebuilding after retirement of key players .Hope SL will regain its lost ground with the advent young new comers like DINESH CHNDIMal,j.mendis kosala..

  • peshawarwazir on November 25, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Get rid off shoaib malik..said truly by someone that his only achievement is sania mirza and better is that he watches her games..sania mirza also haning in Shoaib malik mind during matches...better is set him complete free for sania mirza

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