Pakistan’s batting finally came good as they successfully chased down a competitive total posted by Sri Lanka to win by six wickets in an inconsequential final round robin league encounter of the Asia Cup Twenty20 cricket tournament here today.
Batting first, Sri Lanka could manage a decent 150 for four, riding on a century opening stand between TM Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal.
In reply, Pakistan produced a collective batting performance to win the match in 19.2 overs. Umar Akmal (48 off 37 balls) and veteran Shoaib Malik (13 not out) added 56 runs in 6.1 overs to take Pakistan home.
Akmal’s innings had four boundaries and two huge sixes.
Mohammed Hafeez (14) hit three boundaries before off-spinner Shehan Jayasuriya dismissed him off a delivery that stopped as the batsman failed to check his shot.
Left-hander Sharjeel Khan hit five boundaries and a six, in his 31 off 25 balls as he added 35 quick runs for the second wicket with Sarfraz Ahmed (38).
The stockily-built Sarfraz has been the only Pakistan batsman who played consistent cricket in the tournament. After 25 against India and 58 against Bangladesh, Sarfraz’s 37 came off 28 balls with six boundaries as he set up the game nicely for Akmal and Malik to provide finishing touches.
Akmal hit a brilliant six to level scores but was dismissed to an outstanding catch by Thisara Perera. It was left to Malik to hit the winning runs but was lucky as the mid-off fielder dropped a dolly.
Earlier, Tillekaratne Dilshan carried his bat through the 20 overs with an unbeaten 75 off 56 balls that was laced with 10 boundaries and a six. He added 110 runs for the opening stand with stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal (58) as Sri Lanka scored a decent 150 for four after being put into bat.
Dilshan, who has looked horribly out of touch during the tournament, finally came good although Sri Lanka could not capitalise on their century opening partnership.
Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Iftikhar Ahmed, Sarfraz Ahmed†, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi*, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Nawaz
Sri Lanka Team
LD Chandimal*, TM Dilshan, DSNFG Jayasuriya, N Dickwella†, CK Kapugedera, TAM Siriwardana, MD Shanaka, NLTC Perera, KMDN Kulasekara, HMRKB Herath, PVD Chameera
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