Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st T20, Dubai December 11, 2013

SL wary of Pakistan's momentum

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Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara and captain Dinesh Chandimal are wary of Pakistan's form and confidence ahead of the first Twenty20 in Dubai. Pakistan are fresh from limited-overs success in South Africa, where they won the second of the two Twenty20s, and two of the three ODIs. Pakistan also defeated Afghanistan in Sharjah, three days prior to the series-opener against Sri Lanka.

"Pakistan has played two high-quality series both here and in South Africa, so we know it's going to be tough. They know these conditions well," Sangakkara said.

"They have got a very balanced attack. Saeed Ajmal is the best offspinner in the world without a doubt, and you get some very unique fast bowlers with Pakistan as well. Mohammad Irfan is injured for the series, but he's been great for the game of cricket in general. You've also got Junaid Khan and the two new-founds, Bilawal Bhatti and Anwar Ali. They have shown they can step up and perform. We know what we're in for, so it's a case of mentally conditioning ourselves to face what's coming up and win those little challenges."

Chandimal echoed Sangakkara's appraisal of Pakistan's form and said his team had devised specific plans to better defuse the threat of the Pakistan attack. Sri Lanka have not played a practice match in the UAE, but had been playing the early rounds of the domestic List A tournament at home, before the tour.

"They have played some really good cricket in South Africa," Chandimal said. "We aren't underestimating them - they've got a talented side. Last time we came here, we lost the T20 unfortunately. But we've had three practice sessions and everyone is in a good mental space, and we put our heart and soul into it."

Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said the victory against Afghanistan had helped maintain the team's confidence after the South Africa series, but had also served as a reminder on the perils of leaking runs in the field, which had nearly cost them the match.

"We feel like we're carrying the momentum, right from the South Africa series. As a team we feel like we're playing very well. We had a good practice against Afghanistan in the last match as well. Sri Lanka are the No. 1 team in the rankings, so you can't write them off even though one or two players are missing."

Both teams will seek to settle their Twenty20 combinations, as the World Twenty20 approaches, and Sri Lanka's priority in this series will be to discern whether Ramith Rambukwella or Seekkuge Prasanna is the better slow-bowling allrounder for the purpose.

"At the moment Rangana Herath is the No. 1 bowler we have, but we've got to search for some young blood," Chandimal said. "We've only got two days before the World Twenty20, so our team will be based on what happens in the next few T20s, so that's why we need to find a spin-bowling allrounder. It's a good opportunity for everyone who is going to the Twenty20 world cup."

Hafeez said his side would also experiment with promising players. "Over the past few games we've been really getting the combination for the team, and trying some of the new youngsters in the squad. These two matches will also give us a chance to apply a couple of youngsters and try a couple of things."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 11, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    insha ALLAH pakistan win today

  • on December 11, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    today IN SHAA ALLAH we saw pak team confidence in ground and creat a history before t20 world cup

  • BaliKhan on December 11, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    My team today Shahzad, sharjeel, Maqsood, akmal,hafeez,amin, afridi, Bhatti, tanvir,ajmal,junaid. However there is no place for amin and tanvir, but as there in squad than its OK. And Mr. Prof don't send Maqsood at no 5 coz he is the man who played good inns against quality bowling at no 3. Don't ruin this young player

  • on December 11, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    Best of luck to both teams today. Hope Sri Lanka could make a difference here

  • on December 11, 2013, 10:55 GMT

    i think sri Lanka is best team .but against Pakistan sri lanka is not good as much ,i don,t say that sri lanka is not good team.sri lanka team is always gave tough time to any team in the world . Pakistan want to play with same strategy to win all the series best of luck Pakistan.

  • Nabeel.niazi on December 11, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    Pakistan have got settled combination now in almost every format. Azhar, Younis, Misbah, Asad in tests, Hafeez, Ahmad, Sohaib, Misbah, Akmal in odi and Hafeez, Ahmad, Sohaib, Akmal in t20. Well bowling is always stable for pakistan. Bhatti has also cemented his place in odi and T20.

  • on December 11, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    Pakistan need to be positive after showing good performance with SA

  • on December 11, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Well ... hope both team finds some form before t20 world cup. Right now they must play the best they could. No time for experiments take the best men out and let them play.

  • Udendra on December 11, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    SL is so focused on the world T20 that don't be surprised if they get thrashed in the Tests.

  • dayada on December 11, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Our(SL) t20 & odi sides seem okay even in future. But real concern is future of our test cricket. since murali's retire our test record is really poor. Actually we dont have bowlers who can take 20 test wicket against top quality team. herath still doing that alone but that is in srilankan pitches.

  • on December 11, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    insha ALLAH pakistan win today

  • on December 11, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    today IN SHAA ALLAH we saw pak team confidence in ground and creat a history before t20 world cup

  • BaliKhan on December 11, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    My team today Shahzad, sharjeel, Maqsood, akmal,hafeez,amin, afridi, Bhatti, tanvir,ajmal,junaid. However there is no place for amin and tanvir, but as there in squad than its OK. And Mr. Prof don't send Maqsood at no 5 coz he is the man who played good inns against quality bowling at no 3. Don't ruin this young player

  • on December 11, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    Best of luck to both teams today. Hope Sri Lanka could make a difference here

  • on December 11, 2013, 10:55 GMT

    i think sri Lanka is best team .but against Pakistan sri lanka is not good as much ,i don,t say that sri lanka is not good team.sri lanka team is always gave tough time to any team in the world . Pakistan want to play with same strategy to win all the series best of luck Pakistan.

  • Nabeel.niazi on December 11, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    Pakistan have got settled combination now in almost every format. Azhar, Younis, Misbah, Asad in tests, Hafeez, Ahmad, Sohaib, Misbah, Akmal in odi and Hafeez, Ahmad, Sohaib, Akmal in t20. Well bowling is always stable for pakistan. Bhatti has also cemented his place in odi and T20.

  • on December 11, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    Pakistan need to be positive after showing good performance with SA

  • on December 11, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Well ... hope both team finds some form before t20 world cup. Right now they must play the best they could. No time for experiments take the best men out and let them play.

  • Udendra on December 11, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    SL is so focused on the world T20 that don't be surprised if they get thrashed in the Tests.

  • dayada on December 11, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Our(SL) t20 & odi sides seem okay even in future. But real concern is future of our test cricket. since murali's retire our test record is really poor. Actually we dont have bowlers who can take 20 test wicket against top quality team. herath still doing that alone but that is in srilankan pitches.

  • on December 11, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    Pakistan's momentum; LOL; the word,momentum should not be used with Pakistani team, they can get beaten by ZIM and even Afghan's can give them tough time and on their day they can beat all # 1 teams. So forgot about momentum

  • on December 11, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    This is going to be a very exciting and tough contest because SL are a top team capable of beating any side in the world. I expect the series to be very balanced since SL is also used to playing on similar surfaces. With world quality players like Sangakkara SL have an edge in the batting department. Also, SL have a quality bowling line up with the likes of Malinga which cannot be taken lightly. This is going to be one exciting series between two evenly balanced sides.

  • on December 11, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    with pakistan you never know what is momentum. in 2 gamea they can beat you with high margin and in next they can loose by record margin.

    but obvioulsy pakistan is playing regular international cricket so thats the plus point.

    irfan will not be missed in t20 but in odi he will be badly missed.

    in t20 s no team is fav. any team can win so its a50-50 game.

    hoping to see a good close game

  • on December 11, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    Sri lankan cricket need to find some test players! we are not worried about T20 or ODI s. but even after the retirement of mahela,dilshan and sanga the team is in a deep trouble. Chandimal is a hope,but not still in form. Thirimanna also tha same. he needs more experience. kusal is also in the limelight. dimuth, angelo perera needs matches.. long term plans will do the job!

  • on December 11, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Whoever wins hope to see good matches ahead. SL is a good team too.

  • kila995 on December 11, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Don't worry brothers , lose or win we will still admire SL team .....and a best of luck for both teams .

  • on December 11, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    Good luck Pakistan. They should not under estimate Sri Lanka. There are enough talents in our team, good bowlers back by start batsmen like Umar Akmal and Shehzad who has bee the star in the last series with SA . He could become our H. Amla if he is a little cautious in the first few overs. Maqsood is a good find and has done enough good to be in the side for a long time. Umar Akmal must carry the load behind the wicket and with the bat too, catches win matches !!!!.

  • Yousafahmed11 on December 11, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    I have fear in tests. What would been our rankings after this series!!. We may end up below BD. We are still in dream and claiming ourselves world beaters. After few years we will be a club team who can play only T20s. Mathews, Chandimal, Thirimanne, Senanayake, Seekkuge - all are tested and failed players. We are not able to find even a replacement for them.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Yousafahmed11 on December 11, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    I have fear in tests. What would been our rankings after this series!!. We may end up below BD. We are still in dream and claiming ourselves world beaters. After few years we will be a club team who can play only T20s. Mathews, Chandimal, Thirimanne, Senanayake, Seekkuge - all are tested and failed players. We are not able to find even a replacement for them.

  • on December 11, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    Good luck Pakistan. They should not under estimate Sri Lanka. There are enough talents in our team, good bowlers back by start batsmen like Umar Akmal and Shehzad who has bee the star in the last series with SA . He could become our H. Amla if he is a little cautious in the first few overs. Maqsood is a good find and has done enough good to be in the side for a long time. Umar Akmal must carry the load behind the wicket and with the bat too, catches win matches !!!!.

  • kila995 on December 11, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Don't worry brothers , lose or win we will still admire SL team .....and a best of luck for both teams .

  • on December 11, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Whoever wins hope to see good matches ahead. SL is a good team too.

  • on December 11, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    Sri lankan cricket need to find some test players! we are not worried about T20 or ODI s. but even after the retirement of mahela,dilshan and sanga the team is in a deep trouble. Chandimal is a hope,but not still in form. Thirimanna also tha same. he needs more experience. kusal is also in the limelight. dimuth, angelo perera needs matches.. long term plans will do the job!

  • on December 11, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    with pakistan you never know what is momentum. in 2 gamea they can beat you with high margin and in next they can loose by record margin.

    but obvioulsy pakistan is playing regular international cricket so thats the plus point.

    irfan will not be missed in t20 but in odi he will be badly missed.

    in t20 s no team is fav. any team can win so its a50-50 game.

    hoping to see a good close game

  • on December 11, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    This is going to be a very exciting and tough contest because SL are a top team capable of beating any side in the world. I expect the series to be very balanced since SL is also used to playing on similar surfaces. With world quality players like Sangakkara SL have an edge in the batting department. Also, SL have a quality bowling line up with the likes of Malinga which cannot be taken lightly. This is going to be one exciting series between two evenly balanced sides.

  • on December 11, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    Pakistan's momentum; LOL; the word,momentum should not be used with Pakistani team, they can get beaten by ZIM and even Afghan's can give them tough time and on their day they can beat all # 1 teams. So forgot about momentum

  • dayada on December 11, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Our(SL) t20 & odi sides seem okay even in future. But real concern is future of our test cricket. since murali's retire our test record is really poor. Actually we dont have bowlers who can take 20 test wicket against top quality team. herath still doing that alone but that is in srilankan pitches.

  • Udendra on December 11, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    SL is so focused on the world T20 that don't be surprised if they get thrashed in the Tests.