Misfiring Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad get Pakistan management's backing

Returning batsmen failed in the first T20 against Sri Lanka but Sarfaraz Ahmed backs them to deliver in Lahore

Sri Lanka's cricketer Nuwan Pradeep (R) successful appeal for leg before wicket (lbw) pas Pakistan's cricketer Kamran Akmal during the first Twenty20 International cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on October 5, 2019. Sri Lanka, boosted by a career-best half century from opener Danushka Gunathilaka, posted 165-5 against Pakistan in the first Twenty20 international in Lahore. / AFP / ARIF ALI
Sri Lanka's cricketer Nuwan Pradeep (R) successful appeal for leg before wicket (lbw) pas Pakistan's cricketer Kamran Akmal during the first Twenty20 International cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on October 5, 2019. Sri Lanka, boosted by a career-best half century from opener Danushka Gunathilaka, posted 165-5 against Pakistan in the first Twenty20 international in Lahore. / AFP / ARIF ALI

Pakistan will look to regroup quickly after their shocking 64-run defeat against a depleted Sri Lankan side as they prepare for the second T20 in Lahore on Monday.

Pakistan, the No 1 T20 side, where bowled out for 101 at the Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday and will be desperate to set the record straight.

Two players in particular have landed in the spotlight – the returning Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad; Akmal was playing his first T20 after three years while Shehzad had failed a dope test last year.

However both batsmen failed on Saturday with Akmal out for a golden duck and Shehzad bowled for 4. But Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said the management has full faith in their abilities.

"If you talk about the previous two domestic seasons, they performed well and they again performed in the PSL," Sarfaraz was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

"We are trying our best to give a complete chance to those who are back. Both are experienced players and once they settle in, they will perform. I give my full backing to them as a captain. When we brought back Ahmed and Umar, we intended to make them play in their preferred positions. With our eyes on the T20 World Cup, if Ahmed is able to settle down at that position, we can never find a better player like him."

On Saturday, Akmal got the unwanted record of the most number of ducks in T20 cricket by a Pakistan batsman - 26. But captain Sarfaraz said he has faith in the batsman.

"We wanted to play Akmal in the position he likes. We played six new players in the side without thinking about winning or losing. We wanted to play them and give them confidence because for any player, making a comeback isn't easy."

For Pakistan, there was one positive – pacer Mohammad Hasnain became only the second Pakistan bowler to register a hat-trick in T20I cricket. He did that across two overs in the Sri Lankan innings and in the process, become the youngest ever to take a T20I hat-trick.

Published: October 6, 2019 08:49 PM

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