Sunday , February 1 2015
Sri Lanka edge Pakistan in Asia Cup opener | Asia Cup
Umar Akmal's dismissal was the turning point

Sri Lanka edge Pakistan in Asia Cup opener | Asia Cup

Match Report

Pakistan 284 all out (48.5/50) (Umar Akmal 74, Misbah 73, Malinga 5-52)

Sri Lanka 296(50.0/50) (Thirimanne 102, Sangakkara 67, Gul 2-38, Afridi 2-56)
Lasith Malinga took a five-wicket haul to hand Pakistan a defeat in the tournament opener by 12 runs. His lethal death over bowling proved overwhelming for the Pakistanis. A match that looked to turn either ways at various times, Sri Lanka clinched victory in the penultimate over to register an impressive start to their Asia Cup campaign.

Umar Akmal's dismissal was the turning point

Umar Akmal’s dismissal was the turning point


Given the unpredictable nature of Pakistan, hardly anyone gave Sri Lanka the upper hand even after posting a huge total. Under the floodlights for the first time at Fatullah, Pakistan embarked on their mammoth chase with Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad. Sharjeel looked positive from the beginning but Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals. All the four batsmen got a start but failed to build on it. Pakistani captain Misbah and talented Umar Akmal resurrected the innings and formed a vital partnership worth 121. Akmal took calculated risks and scored a brisk 74 with 7 boundaries and 3 huge sixes. When Lakmal dismissed Umar Akmal, Pakistan needed 55 off 45 balls and had 5 wickets in hand. It looked simple from then on but who else other than Pakistan can mess up a chase that looked in complete control. Afridi and Misbah was on the crease to get Pakistan through but Lasith Malinga removed both of them in the same over to change the complexion of the game once again. But his strikes proved lethal as Pakistan lost way in their chase.

Earlier in the afternoon, an outstandding 161 run partnership off just 146 balls between Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumara Sangakkara for the 2nd wicket was vital in Sri Lanka’s innings. At 205 for 2 after 35 overs, Sri Lanka looked well set to post a score in excess of 300 but few quick strikes by the Pakistanis late in the innings curtailed the scoring rate and restricted Sri Lanka to 296.

Along with the destructive Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne was promoted to open the innings. His fluent century reasserted his relevance in the ODI format and proved the selectors’ faith in his ability. After a composed start, Kusal Perera edged Umar Gul to the wicket-keeper in the 8th over to lose their first wicket. The prolific run getter of recent times, Kumar Sangakkara and Thirimanne displayed intent to score at a brisk pace and piled on the runs. Sangakkara departed mistiming a pull off Umar Gul for 67 but Thirimanne reached triple figures for the 2nd time in his career. Pakistani spinners inevitably struck during the batting power play which yielded only 29 runs for the loss two crucial wickets. Ajmal dismissed Thirimanne for 102 and Afridi removed Jayawerdene for a paltry 13. Skipper Angelo Mathews embellished his role as a finisher and scored a rapid 55 comprising a six and 5 boundaries. Dinesh Chandimal provided apt support and collected 45 runs for the seventh wicket. Saed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi got two wickets each.

Mukib Mosleh from Fatullah
Tigercricket Correspondent