Bowlers, Naseem take Pakistan to unassailable 2-0 series lead

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Pakistan wrapped up the T20I series against Sri Lanka with a comprehensive seven-wicket win in the second WT20I in Karachi.

Ayesha Naseem’s unbeaten 31-ball 45 helped Pakistan mow down a target of 103 in the second T20I. Skipper Bismah Maroof played second fiddle with a 29-ball 22* as their partnership guided the side to a 2-0 series win.

Earlier in the day, the bowlers did their job to restrict Sri Lanka to 102/6. Hasini Perera top-scored with 35, but failed to accelerate the scoring, while the rest of the line-up struggled to get going.

Opting to bat, Sri Lanka lost their captain Chamari Athapaththu early in the Powerplay. After two boundary-less opening overs, the pressure of scoring got to the skipper. Though she did strike a boundary, she fell to Anam Amin the very next ball.

Hasini Perera and Oshadi Ranasinghe then failed to score a boundary in the Powerplay and Sri Lanka were restricted to 21/1 at the end of six overs. Ranasinghe tried to up the ante with a reverse sweep but found the fielder at third man. Perera smashed two consecutive boundaries in the ninth over as Sri Lanka found themselves at 46/2 at the halfway stage. There were no boundaries in the next six overs, and things got worse when Perera fell for 35 attempting the slog sweep. Harshitha Madavi struck two boundaries off Fatima Sana in the 17th over but the bowler had the last laugh in the penultimate over of the innings, scalping Madavi.

Pakistan picked wickets in the last two overs to restrict the visitors to 102/6. All the bowlers picked up a wicket each, with Tuba Hassan the most economical, giving away just 13 in her four overs.

Pakistan got off to a shaky start themselves and like Sri Lanka, lost a wicket in the second over of the innings. A brilliant catch running backwards by Nilakshi de Silva brought an end to Gull Feroza’s innings. Pakistan went on to finish the Powerplay at 28/1.

They found themselves in a spot of bother in the two overs after the fielding restricting were lifted, losing set batters Muneeba Ali and Iram Javed in the space of five balls. Two quiet overs later, Pakistan were 44/3 at the halfway stage, still needing 59 more runs to win.

Bismah Maroof smashed a boundary to release the pressure and Ayesha Naseem took the cue and had a boundary of her own two balls later. Naseem found the boundary once again in the next over but Sri Lanka kept it tight in the next few overs to bring the equation down to 29 off 30.

Naseem, however, put the game to bed with a six and a four off Kavisha Dilhari’s over, accumulating 14 runs from it. She finished things off in style with a boundary, remaining unbeaten on 45 off 31 as Pakistan won the series with a game in hand.

Brief scores:

Sri Lankan Women: 102-6 (20) (Hasini Perera 35, Nilakshi de Silva 21, Tuba Hassan 1-13, Anam Amin 1-16)

Pakistan Women: 104-3 (17.1) (Ayesha Naseem 45*, Bismah Maharoof 22*, Oshadi Ranasinghe 1-16, Inoka Ranaweera 1-23, Achini Kulasuriya 1-11)