Fatullah (Bangladesh), Feb 25: An excellent fifer by pacer Lasith Malinga and a century from Lahiru Thirimanne guided Sri Lanka to a thrilling 12-run win over Pakistan in the first ODI of the Asia Cup cricket tournament at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium here Tuesday.
Opening batsman Lahiru Thirimanne struck a fine 102, his second ODI hundred, that took Sri Lanka to a challenging 296 for six in 50 overs. Kumar Sangakkara (67) and skipper Angelo Mathews (55 not out) also made valuable contributions.
While chasing a target of 297, Pakistan looked on course at 250 for five in 44 overs. Pakistan needed 47 runs from last 36 balls but Malinga turned the match around for Sri Lanka with a lethal spell picking the last five wickets to bundle out Pakistan for 284 runs in 48.5 overs.
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq (73) and Umar Akmal (74) kept alive Pakistan’s hopes with their 121-run stand for the fifth wicket. But Akmal fell in the 43rd over off Suranga Lakmal triggering a batting collapse as Pakistan lost six wickets for 42 runs.
The last five wickets of Shahid Afridi (4), Misbah,A Umar Gul (2), Saeed Ajmal (10) and Bilawal Bhatti (18) all fell to Malinga as Sri Lanka pulled off a thrilling win with seven balls to spare.
Earlier, Matthews’ decision to bat first proved right as Thirimanne hit 11 fours and a six in his 110-ball 102-run innings. He shared a 161-run stand with Sangakkara (67) for the second wicket to lay the foundation for a late onslaught by the skipper. Matthews came up with a cameo off 50-ball 55, to take Sri Lanka to a competitive total. IANS