Fatullah - Sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga has grabbed five wickets in a
devastating final spell to lead Sri Lanka to a 12-run win over defending
champions Pakistan in the opening match of the Asia Cup in Fatullah on
Pakistan, chasing Sri Lanka's competitive 296-6, seemed
to be cruising at 242-4 in the 43rd over following a fifth-wicket stand
of 121 between skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal.
turned the tables, finishing with five for 52, as Pakistan lost their
last six batsmen for 42 runs to be bowled out for 284 in the penultimate
over of the day-night match.
Akmal hit 74 off 72 balls with seven
boundaries and three sixes, and Misbah made 73, but Pakistan were
unable to apply the finishing touches as pressure mounted on the lower
Sri Lanka's innings revolved around opener Lahiru
Thirimanne's 102 off 110, his second one-day hundred, and useful
contributions from Kumar Sangakkara (67) and skipper Angelo Mathews (55
not out off 50 balls).
Sri Lanka were at 204-2 in the 36th over when Pakistan slowed the pace by grabbing four wickets in the space of nine overs.
and Sangakkara compiled Sri Lanka's highest second-wicket stand against
Pakistan, adding 161 after Kusal Perera fell in the eighth over for 14.
promoted to open the innings in the absence of the injured Tillakaratne
Dilshan, hit 11 fours and a six before he was bowled by Saeed Ajmal in
the 36th over.
Sangakkara continued the awesome batting form he
showed during the preceding bilateral tour of Bangladesh, where he
scored 319 and 105 in the second Test in Chittagong, and 128 in the
second one-dayer in Dhaka.
The left-hander hit eight boundaries
for his 84th one-day half-century when he gifted away his wicket,
pulling a short ball from Gul to Ahmed Shehzad at mid-wicket.
Mathews said he owed the dramatic win to the top order batsmen and Malinga.
still think we were 20 runs short considering the start Thirimanne and
Sangakkara gave us," the Sri Lankan captain said. "But in the past we've
won close games and it was good to come out on top again.
has been our best bowler for the past few years. He is our go-to man
whenever we are under pressure and he did it again."
Sharjeel Khan gave Pakistan a flying start, scoring 26 of the 28-run stand for the first wicket with Shehzad.
was bowled by debutant left-arm spinner Chaturanga de Silva for 28, and
Mohammad Hafeez was leg-before to Mathews for 18 as Pakistan slipped to
83-3 in the 14th over.
It soon became 121-4 as Sohaib Maqsood (17) pulled a short ball from Sachithra Senanayake to de Silva on the mid-wicket fence.
Misbah and Akmal launched a brilliant fightback to raise Pakisan's
hopes, before Malinga stepped in to steer Sri Lanka to victory.
Misbah said he was disappointed by the loss considering his team was in a sound position during his stand with Akmal.
had six wickets in hand and we should have won this game," he said.
"There was nothing in the wicket for the bowlers and this total should
have been chased."
India play hosts Bangladesh at the same venue
on Wednesday. Afghanistan is the fifth team in the tournament, which
decides the regional champion in one-day cricket.