Sri Lanka did better than Pakistan in clutch moments to win the first T20 against their sub-continental rivals by 37 runs at Hambantota.
Set to chase 132, Pakistan couldn’t have had a worse start to their innings as they lost Hafeez and debutant Shakeel Ansar of the first two balls. Pakistan never really recovered from the early set back. As the dot balls increased, the pressure began to increase and the asking rate went up. This only resulted in more wickets to tumble. Sri Lanka fielded with alertness and agility. The catches that got rid of Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi were par excellence. Angelo Mathew bowled a miserly spell of 4 overs in which he conceded only 8 runs and took 2 wickets. Malinga, Kulasekara and Senanayake also took 2 wicket each.
Pakistan, after losing the toss, had Sri Lanka on the mat on a difficult pitch. Sohail Tanvir’s incisive spell and some good bowling by spinner Ajmal and Hafeez reduced Sri Lanka to 89 for 7. Sri Lanka shouldn’t have got too many after that, but a poor bowling at the death by Umar Gul and some imaginative batting by Thisara Perera helped Sri Lanka reach 132. Gul conceded 43 runs in his 4 overs.
Hafeez said after the match, “This was a difficult pitch to bat on and we were hoping to restrict them to 110-120 after getting seven wickets. But in the end Perera made the difference. He took the game away from us. 132 was still chaseable but if your main batsmen fail then it's very difficult to win such games."