2017 is marked as the year of international cricket’s revival in Pakistan. The return of Sri Lanka was marked by Pakistan with a 3-0 Twenty20 series after the final match. Authorities hoped that the final match played on Pakistani grounds will help to re-establish the country’s repute for hosting international cricket matches on its soil.
The third and final Twenty20 match was comfortably won by Pakistan at Gaddafi stadium Lahore, which was first for Sri Lankan team since their bus was attacked by terrorists in March 2009. The first two matches, won by Pakistan, were played in Abu Dhabi after which Sri Lankan players flew to Lahore.
Pakistani host team did not offer any mercy to their opponents in a 20 over match after the visiting Sri Lankan team had won the toss and opted to field first against the hosts.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka have played two tests and five one-day international matches at Abu Dhabi cricket stadium before a three T20 match series. Sri Lanka won the Test match series whereas the five match ODI series was won by Pakistan.
The return of Sri Lankan cricket team for a T20 match in Lahore holds prime importance for Pakistan as it was the same venue where Sri Lankan team was attacked by terrorists leaving 9 people dead and 7 Sri Lankan players and staff injured. The attack resulted in suspension of international cricket in Pakistan due to security issues.
The Sri Lankan team was given a warm welcome by Pakistani Cricket fans at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium amid tight security measures which included heavily guarded roads, air surveillance and CCTV cameras. “Its nice to be in Pakistan again,” said Thisara Perera, “We are thankful for a warm welcome and will do our best to entertain the crowd with some good cricket.”
Earlier this year, Pakistan hosted several international players in the final match of Pakistan Super League. Moreover, Pakistan Cricket Board and ICC jointly organised a T20 match series between Pakistan XI and World XI. PCB officials are hopeful that the recent T20 final will pave way for further international matches in Pakistan while the country is already preparing to host West Indies for a Cricket series next month.