Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st T20, Hambantota May 31, 2012

Teams seek early boost before bigger tests


Match facts

Friday, June 1, 2012
Start time 1900 (1330 GMT)

Big Picture

The Twenty20 series at the start of the tour is a good opportunity for the teams to try out players they'd have in their plans for the World Twenty20 later in the year, but just two games are unlikely to produce definitive answers. There are more elaborate preparations being made elsewhere for the competition; Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and South Africa will soon take part in an unofficial triangular Twenty20 series, Bangladesh have also asked Ireland to arrange for five Twenty20s in July, there is a Sri Lanka Premier League planned for August and several Indian and overseas regulars have already benefited from the IPL.

Mohammad Hafeez, the new Pakistan Twenty20 captain, called the IPL a "missed opportunity" for his players, who'll have to make do with these two games in Hambantota. The World Twenty20 is a few months away and the immediate aim is to gain an initial edge on a big tour which is Pakistan's biggest assignment since beating (in Tests and ODIs) Sri Lanka and England in 'home' conditions in the UAE.

At least seven Sri Lankan players in the current squad have had a chance to play the IPL this year, and their freshness from that experience will have prepared them well against Pakistan, who had a training camp in Lahore before this tour.

Form guide

(most recent first)

Pakistan: LLWWW
Sri Lanka: LWWWW

Players to watch

Shoaib Malik: He's not part of Pakistan's ODI squad for the series but if he gets a chance to play in the Twenty20s, he'll be under scrutiny. He's had a poor run in ODIs and mixed results in the shortest format since he came back to the national team; he's among the seniors but another failure could cost him.

Chamara Kapugedera: Sri Lanka persisted with him for a long time despite poor returns but he's not part of their ODI squad this time. He's been picked for the Twenty20s though, and has been in good form of late, with scores of 86 not out and 79 in his last four innings. A hard-hitting batsman down the order, Kapugedera has a chance to make a mark again for the national side, in the lead-up to the World Twenty20.

Team news

Pakistan played their last Twenty20 international in February this year and have made some changes to their squad. One of them is the inclusion of wicketkeeper-batsman Shakeel Ansar, who is expected to play. Umar Akmal had been assigned the keeping duties before this, and he could likely play as a full-time batsman. Mohammad Sami, who hasn't played for Pakistan since November 2010, is one to keep an eye on should he be included.

Pakistan (possible): 1 Mohammad Hafeez (capt), 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Umar Akmal, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Khalid Latif/Haris Sohail, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Shakeel Ansar (wk), 8 Sohail Tanvir/ Hammad Azam, 9 Mohammad Sami, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Saeed Ajmal.

Sri Lanka have picked left-arm seamer Isuru Udana in their squad, a bowler known to deliver a well-disguised slow bouncer. They also have legspinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi in their ranks. Both don't feature in the ODI squad.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Dinesh Chandimal, 4 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Thisara Perera, 7 Chamara Kapugedera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Kaushal Lokuarachchi, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Isuru Udana.

Stats and trivia

  • Hambantota will be making its debut as an international Twenty20 venue, though it's hosted four ODIs before this. The results have been largely one-sided.
  • Mahela Jayawardene is 47 short of reaching 1000 runs in Twenty20 internationals.


"We had a pretty decent two weeks camp before we came here, finishing up with some practices that were attended by conservatively 15,000 people who were starved of cricket and they just loved them."
Dav Whatmore, the Pakistan coach, on his team's preparation.

"What makes them competitive is the sort of bowling options available, apart from the specialists."
Mahela Jayawardene

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    Nice preview, but for the "Players to watch" section I would have put Sami as an option for Pak. He was in impeccable form in the BPL. Could this series be him finally coming of age? I sure hope so.

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    Still don't know Malinga will play or not

  • Bilal on June 1, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    @shakki well i this one is Just a Practice Kit... Original kit is Green as ever!

  • Tanvier on June 1, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    @ syed_imran_abbas: U have outlined the perfect combination. Just one change. Make LALA the captain

  • Rukshan on June 1, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    rain would win this game.,

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    The fresh pakistan has grate chance rather than tired srilankan IPL players, hence going to be part of excited match Tonight. Best of luck for the both teams.

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    i like this new grey kit for Pakistan it looks nice go Pak beat Lanka and prepare well for worldcup

  • Nipuna on June 1, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    My Team Would be this,

    1 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Dinesh Chandimal, 4 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Thisara Perera, 7 Chamara Kapugedera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Kaushal Lokuarachchi, 10 Sachithra Senanayaka, 11 Lasith Malinga

    It has a good balance in Pace and Spin and also great batting depth right down to number 11. Kaushal is more than useful with bat as he opens for his state team and senanayaka has shown the world that he can bat in crunch situations ( Last ball Six)

    Also i think this is more balanced team. They talk about ajmal but Sri lankans have Malinga who done well in IPL. And Loku and Sena are not Bad bowlers. And Kula Has shown a great form in IPL too. If there is a worry I think it would be Sangas Batting and Thisaras Bowling. Chandimal Must come at number 3 as he can be aggressive and keep the run rate up. I think If sanga didint do well in this match he must drop and Lahiru or Upul must get a chance. Go Lions....!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2012, 2:40 GMT

    SL will likely to win today game

  • Uwaisul on June 1, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    I don't think SL will play Kaushal Lokuarachchi as their specialist spinner & Sachithra Senanayake will definitely play that role and Lokuarachchi will play as an all rounder (He has shown good form more with the bat this season). So it'll be a battle between Kapu & Locku for a place in the final 11 & perhaps even with Kulasekara too.

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