Having clinched the ODI series, Pakistan will be looking to keep the winning momentum going when they take on Sri Lanka in the first of three T20 internationals at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Saturday.

In a series that marked the return of ODI cricket to Karachi after a decade, the men in green secured emphatic 67-run and five-wicket wins after the first match was abandoned due to rain.

Pakistan hold the top spot in ICC T20 ranking, having won 11 of their past 13 shortest-format series. However, they’ve lost three of their last five T20Is.

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Their batting line looks strong in the presence of Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, and Haris Sohail, who all looked in fine in the one-dayers. The hosts have also called in forgotten duo Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal for the series. Shehzad had last featured in Pakistan’s T20 squad in July 2018 while Akmal in September 2016.

Down the order, there will be the likes of Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, and Faheem Ashraf will give a late surge to the innings. Left-arm trio Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, and Usman Shinwari are likely to form the pace attack.

Shadab Khan will lead the spin attack and will be assisted by Imad and Haris.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be aiming to bounce back from their loss in ODIs. The islanders, who are ranked 8th, have lost five of their six series.

A loss in this series will further extend the misery of a side that even has to play the preliminary round of ICC World T20 in a bid to qualify for the main round of the tournament. 

The visitors, who were led by Lahiru Thirimanne in ODIs, will be captained by Dasun Shanaka in T20s. Regular skipper Lasith Malinga, who, along with several other first-choice players, had refused to visit Pakistan, citing security concerns.

Possible XIs:

Pakistan:

Fakhar Zaman, Babar AzamSarfraz Ahmed (capt, wk), Umar Akmal, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Wahab Riaz,  Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari

Sri Lanka

Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Isuru Udana, Angelo Perera, Kasun Rajitha, Shehan Jayasuriya, Minod Bhanuka (wk), Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka (capt), Lahiru Madushanka, Nuwan Pradeep

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