World T20: Pacers’ fitness a concern for Pakistan, Sri Lanka

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Mar 14, 2016 22:43 IST
Pakistan's Shahid Afridi, left, shakes hands with Sri Lanka's Dinesh Chandimal after their ICC World Twenty20 warm-up match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on March 14, 2016. Pakistan won by 15 runs. (AP Photo)

World T20 defending champions Sri Lanka lost their warm-up match to Pakistan by 15 runs but both teams seemed to be burdened by bigger problems on Monday --- their pace bowlers’ fitness.

Pakistan’s Mohammed Sami injured his toe in the final minutes of their first training session on Sunday. According to a team official, Sami was hit on the left toe by a delivery of a net bowler. Though he was given quick medical attention, till Monday night there was serious doubt whether he would take part in Pakistan’s opening clash against Bangladesh on Wednesday.

“He is applying ice on his left toe but there is still some pain. There has been no X-ray or MRI but even the doctor can’t say whether it’s too serious. As of now, we can’t say whether he will play or not,” said the team official after the warm-up match.

On the Sri Lankan front, there is still no word whether fast bowler Lasith Malinga would feature in their first match against Afghanistan on Thursday. Malinga, however, has reportedly flown to India but it is unclear if he can recover from a ‘bone bruise’ injury that he apparently suffered last December.

Sri Lanka sorely missed their frontline pacer at the death as they conceded 57 runs in the last five overs. Mohammad Hafeez struck an unbeaten 70 from 49 balls as Pakistan notched 157/5 after choosing to bat. Pakistan didn’t miss Sami too much in Monday’s match as both Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Irfan conceded just 38 runs between them, with Irfan taking the wickets of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thisara Perera.

The star of the day, however, was left-arm spinner Imad Wasim, who took 4/25 and vindicated captain Shahid Afridi’s stance that their spinners are young but still have potential.

Brief scores: Pakistan 157/5 in 20 overs (Mohammad Hafeez 70 n.o, Thisara Perera 2/21). Sri Lanka 142/9 in 20 overs (Lahiru Thirimanne 45, Dinesh Chandimal 30; Imad Wasim 4/25, Mohammad Irfan 2/18). Pakistan won by 15 runs.

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