Pakistan suffered a 0-3 whitewash for the first time since 2015 and it was the first series loss for Sarfaraz Ahmed as skipper in T20Is. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Pakistan are the No.1 ranked Twenty20 side in the world. They had created a record of 11 consecutive bilateral series wins in the format for the last two years. Under skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, they had not yet lost a Twenry20 International bilateral series. At home, they were playing a Sri Lanka side who were missing the services of many experienced players who had opted out of the tour due to security fears. Pakistan won the ODIs 2-0 and it was expected to be the same. Instead, Sri Lanka turned the tables on Pakistan comprehensively and whitewashed them 3-0. This was Pakistan's first whitewash in Twenty20 Internationals since 2015,when they were hammered 3-0 by England in the UAE.
In the third and final match at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Wednesday, Pakistan's humiliation was complete. Sri Lanka chose to bat and they were boosted by a fantastic knock of 78 from 48 balls by Oshada Fernando. His knock was pivotal as Sri Lanka reached 147/7. For Pakistan, Mohammad Amir was the star with 3/27. In response, Pakistan stuttered from the beginning with Fakhar Zaman departing first ball. Babar Azam and Haris Sohail stitched a 76-run stand but Wanindu Hasaranga picked up 3/21 and Lahiru Kumara 2/24 as Pakistan choked to lose by 13 runs.
Speaking after the end of the match, Pakistan's head coach and chief selector Misbah ul Haq said there was a problem with the country's cricket system. "This series has been an eye-opener for us and everyone else. These same players have been around for a while now. More or less the same team which made us number one and has been playing together for around three to four years now," Misbah said.
The pressure of the loss told on Misbah, who veered from sarcasm to anger in the entire press conference. The 46-year-old, who retired from all forms of cricket in 2017, took the blame of the entire series loss on himself.
"Yes, I take responsibility for the series defeat. It is very disappointing and we played poorly. But this is same team which made us number one. Same players who have been playing for around three years. If you want to blame me, fine. I have been just 10 days on the job and yes about changes, I asked a right hand batsman to start batting left-handed and told a left-hand bowler to start bowling right-hand, right. Only the wicketkeeper is not playing well, the rest of the 10 players are doing so well," Misbah said, also stating that the media needed to think and write.