Bismah and Athapaththu eye T20I series win

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After three days of intense practice and preparations at the Southend Club, Karachi, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are ready for action with the first of the three T20Is set to be played today (Tuesday). Bismah Maroof-led Pakistan and Chamari Athapaththu-led Sri Lanka are eager to showcase their talent, skill and temperament in the shortest format of the game.

Both teams have so far played 13 T20Is against each other and have an even record with six wins apiece (one No Result). The last time these two sides faced off in a T20I bilateral series, Pakistan came out on top with a 2-1 win. Tomorrow’s match will be the first T20I between the two sides in Pakistan.

In the current ICC Women’s T20I Rankings, Pakistan are placed at seventh, one place ahead of Sri Lanka. In the T20I bowlers’ rankings, spinner Anam Amin and pacer Diana Baig represent Pakistan in the top ten. Athapaththu is ranked eight amongst the batters and occupies the seventh spot in the all-rounders’ rankings, while Nida Dar is placed ninth.

Both captains have meanwhile set their sights on a series win in what is Sri Lanka women’s first tour to Pakistan in more than 16 years.

Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof: “We are looking forward to an exciting series with Sri Lanka. After the World Cup we will start afresh with an aim of winning both T20I and ODI series. We have a packed schedule this year and this series will help us prepare for the challenges ahead, especially the Commonwealth Games.

“We have an exciting squad in place for both formats (T20 and ODIs). The newcomers in the two squads have a great chance of proving their worth when they get a chance to play. It is always exciting to play an international series in Pakistan and such occasions always motivate us to do well and inspire the fans. I think we will have a good contest as Sri Lanka are a formidable opponent, especially in Asian conditions. The hot weather will be a challenge, but as professional players we would endeavour to overcome the challenge.”

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu: “We are excited to play a strong Pakistan team in its backyard. Pakistan and Sri Lanka have always enjoyed friendly relations and I am confident the series will be played in good spirit. The weather is hot and humid and it will test us, but at the same time, it will provide us an opportunity of testing our skills in challenging conditions.

“We have a good balance of senior and junior players and we feel we can do well on the tour as most of the players have considerable experience of domestic cricket which we play regularly.”

The three T20Is will be followed by three ICC Women’s Championship ODI fixtures.

Sri Lanka T20I squad:

Chamari Athapaththu (captain), Achini Kulasuriya, Ama Kanchana, Anushka Sanjeewani, Harshitha Samarawickrama, Hasini Perera, Imesha Dulani, Inoka Ranaweera, Kavisha Dilhari, Nilakshi de Silva, Oshadhi Ranasinghe, Prasadani Weerakkody, Sachini Nisansala, and Sugandika Kumari.