New Delhi: Pakistan are the No.1 ranked Twenty20 side in the world. They had created a record of 11 consecutive bilateral series wins in the format for the last two years. Under skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, they had not yet lost a Twenry20 International bilateral series. At home, they were playing a Sri Lanka side who were missing the services of many experienced players who had opted out of the tour due to security fears. Pakistan won the ODIs 2-0 and it was expected to be the same. Instead, Sri Lanka turned the tables on Pakistan comprehensively and whitewashed them 3-0. This was Pakistan’s first whitewash in Twenty20 Internationals since 2015,when they were hammered 3-0 by England in the UAE. In the third and final match at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Wednesday, Pakistan’s humiliation was complete. Sri Lanka chose to bat and they were boosted by a fantastic knock of 78 from 48 balls by Oshada Fernando. His knock was pivotal as Sri Lanka reached 147/7. For Pakistan, Mohammad Amir was the star with 3/27. In response, Pakistan stuttered from the beginning with Fakhar Zaman departing first ball. Babar Azam and Haris Sohail stitched a 76-run stand but Wanindu Hasaranga picked up 3/21 and Lahiru Kumara 2/24 as Pakistan choked to lose by 13 runs.Also Read | Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan sign off in style as Pakistan script historic Test series win against West IndiesSpeaking after the end of the match, Pakistan’s head coach and chief selector Misbah ul Haq said there was a problem with the country’s cricket system. “This series has been an eye-opener for us and everyone else. These same players have been around for a while now. More or less the same team which made us number one and has been playing together for around three to four years now,” Misbah said. Also Read | Young players won’t get a feel of Indo-Pak cricket matches: MisbahThe pressure of the loss told on Misbah, who veered from sarcasm to anger in the entire press conference. The 46-year-old, who retired from all forms of cricket in 2017, took the blame of the entire series loss on himself. “Yes, I take responsibility for the series defeat. It is very disappointing and we played poorly. But this is same team which made us number one. Same players who have been playing for around three years. If you want to blame me, fine. I have been just 10 days on the job and yes about changes, I asked a right hand batsman to start batting left-handed and told a left-hand bowler to start bowling right-hand, right. Only the wicketkeeper is not playing well, the rest of the 10 players are doing so well,” Misbah said, also stating that the media needed to think and write. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
Matt Karatsu | Daily TrojanAfter coming close to taking the NCAA Championship game last season, the men’s water polo team — which opens this season ranked at No. 2 — set its sights on winning it all. Even though they ended last season with a 24-2 record, with only one loss during the regular season, the Trojans hope to win the final game this year, with the national title game at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center in December.“We are going to try to put everything through the whole year preparing for the one game at the end,” sophomore driver Marin Dasic said. “It definitely is going to be a big motivation because it is going to be our people, our crowd — like Cal had [in the championship game] last year — and at the end they beat us. We didn’t win the last three years, but I think this is the time with our people, with our pool.”While the Trojans have their end goal in mind already, they have many games to play before achieving it. They will face Cal, perennial championship contender Stanford and many more quality programs throughout the season. But the team has confidence in head coach Jovan Vavic, who is returning for his 23rd season after leading USC to the NCAA title match for the past 12 years.“Our coaches are unique, and they pick the right people, the right captains, and they know what we have to do,” Dasic said. “They are dedicated, and they are doing everything they can to make us better. I think they have a huge impact on our game and on everything we do.”With 10 returning seniors, seven of whom are All-Americans, USC is heading into the season with a veteran roster. Along with the seniors, the team also sees the return of all its goalies as well as sophomores like Olympian driver Thomas Dunstan and the 2016 MPSF Newcomer of the Year, 2-meter Matt Maier. This experience allows the team to learn from its mistakes and continue to build upon the foundations already established.“I think we want to keep the same sort of energy and the same passion that we brought to last season,” senior driver Blake Edwards said.The returning captain also said the team had to make adjustments after coming up short last year.“Just a bit of composure when we’re in front and learning how to close out games,” Edwards said. “We had a fantastic record last season, and it just fell apart for us in the last quarter due to some defensive errors, which was really just us switching off.”USC will hold an edge if the team manages to make another deep postseason run this year. The NCAA Tournament will be held at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center in December, and the Trojans will have their home crowd to help them keep their energy at a high level.For the seniors, this fall is their last chance to bring home the championship — but more than that, it is a chance to defend their home pool.“I don’t think I really need to motivate the team,” Edwards said. “I think everyone is hurting from last year’s loss, and I think there’s just a whole lot of excitement within the playing group. There has been a whole lot of hard work put in over the summer, and we are just really looking forward to putting it all together.”The Trojans will play in the UCLA Mini Invitational this weekend for their season opener. They will be taking on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 10:20 a.m. and Pomona-Pitzer at 11:40 a.m. on Saturday.