Sri Lanka thrashed the number-one ranked Pakistan side by 64 runs in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) between the two sides at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Saturday.
Chasing a target of 166, Pakistan were jolted by early strikes at the start of their innings. Prolific batsman Babar Azam was the first to depart, after an outstanding one-handed catch from wicketkeeper Minod Bhanuka, off the bowling of fast-bowler Nuwan Pradeep.
Opener Ahmed Shehzad and batsman Umar Akmal, who made their comeback, then departed in quick succession to leave Pakistan in a precarious situation at 22 for three in 4.2 overs.
Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and all-rounder Ifitkhar Ahmed then tried to rebuild the innings with a partnership of 46 while keeping an eye on the climbing run-rate. The pressure however got to the duo, when a miscommunication between the two resulted in the run-out of Iftikhar, who made 25 off 24 deliveries.
Sarfaraz fell soon afterwards, bowled by leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, to leave Pakistan at 76 for five in 13.2 overs and a required run-rate of over 12 runs.
Wickets tumbled in quick succession as batsman Asif Ali, all-rounders Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf and tail-ender Mohammad Amir tried to swing their way out of trouble.
Pradeep and fellow pacer Isuru Udana claimed three wickets each to reduce Pakistan to 101 all-out in 17.4 overs and cap a dominant victory for the Islanders.
Earlier, Sri Lanka got off to a flying start after being put in to bat first by Sarfaraz. Openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando combined for a first wicket partnership of 84.
Gunathilaka continued his fine One-day International (ODI) form into the first T20I by scoring a breezy half-century. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan finally broke the opening partnership when he trapped Gunathilaka leg-before wicket (LBW) in the ninth over. The opener scored 57 runs off 38 deliveries.
Fernando departed soon afterwards, courtesy of a direct hit from fielder Shadab, having scored 33 runs off 34 deliveries.
Fast-bowler Mohammad Hasnain then pegged Sri Lanka back with a hat-trick removing batsmen Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka, and Shehan Jayasuriya. The young pacer finished with three wickets off 37 runs.
All-rounders Isuru Udana and Wanindu Hasaranga remained unbeaten on 5 and 7 respectively as Sri Lanka posted 165 for 5 in their allotted overs.
For his scintillating knock, Gunathilaka bagged the award for the player of the match.