That’s quite real that the history repeats itself, a tale that had halted back in 2009 after dreadful assault opened at the Sri Lankan cricket team, got resumed today at the same venue of Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The Islanders had landed on Pakistani soil after the hiatus of 8 years on Saturday to face the Shaheens in the 3rd and the wrapper T20I of the ongoing series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka with Pakistan already securing the lead of 2-0.
After the successful exhibition of the World XI’s tour in September, the 3rd T20I between Sri Lanka and Pakistan was scheduled by the consensus of the PCB & the Lankan board, following that Sri Lanka fulfilled their long awaited promise and it happened to turn into reality when the plane transported the Islanders to the ground of Lahore.
The fans were enthusiastic to witness the amazing contest and the arena of Gaddafi Stadium was filled with masses wearing Pakistani and Sri Lankan colors; the people not only supported Pakistan but also the visitors with lifting up the pro-Sri Lankan placards expressing the overwhelmed gratitude that they owed to the visiting side.
It was an exquisite game of cricket started with Sri Lanka winning the toss and opting to field, Pakistan managed a fighting total of 180 for the loss of only 3 wickets; it was featured by Malik’s elegant inning of 51 runs on only 24 balls, followed by 45 runs of Umer Amin, who returned to the international squad after 2 years. Fakhar Zaman also washed his hands in the river managing 31 runs off 27 deliveries.
Visitors continued their inconsistency from the ODI’s surrendering their chase on 144/9 in the 20 over contest; they were jolted by Muhammad Amir’s best T20I figures of 4 for 13 in his 4 overs spell. Dasun Shanaka showed a bit of resistance with his 54 runs of 36 deliveries.
The arena was a house full packed with the spectators of every age group; from a 5 year old kid to the elderly citizens everyone showed up and waved hands towards the ground; it was an atmosphere of a gala. Noisy surroundings and everyone danced and cheered over melodies like Dil Dil Pakistan, of the Late Junaid Jamshed and Nach Punjaban Nach of Punjabi pop star Abrar Ul Haq; the melodies also included the cricket-esque tracks from Strings.
Today was a day for which every Pakistani cricket fan was waiting and after these successful hosting we’re very much hopeful that in the near future we ‘d seeing many more matches being played not only in Lahore but nationwide. Lahore was looking like a bride on her wedding day; with banners and the lights glowing up the streets, welcoming the visitors in full swing. Famous boxer Amir Khan, Indian tennis diva Sania Mirza cheered for the teams in the crowd along with the most celebrated contemporary commentator Danny Morrison.
We truly hope that this journey would continue and we ‘d be watching other international teams too playing in our home grounds. We also appreciate the vigor and optimism of the visitors without whom, today wouldn’t have been possible. This commitment from Sri Lanka would be remembered forever; and our friendship would get strong with every passing day.
Sri Lanka lost the series but undoubtedly won the hearts of 23 thousand spectators and 20 crore Pakistani population.