Pakistan, with some good batting display, defeated Sri Lanka in the last round robin match of the Asia Cup at Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Friday, by six wickets. Pakistan chased down Sri Lanka's score of 150 runs in 19.2 overs.
Most of the matches in the Asia Cup might have been dominated by bowlers, but the Pakistan-Sri Lanka clash witnessed batsmen on top. Pakistan batsmen such as Sharjeel Khan, Umar Akmal and Sarfraz Ahmed played an important role with the willow for Pakistan to emerge victorious.
With Pakistan requiring 7.5 runs per over to win, the Men in Green had to start well, and Sharjeel stood up, scoring boundaries at will. The left-hander played shots all around the wicket in his well made 24-ball 31, which included five fours and one six.
Sharjeel provided a good start and the middle order had to take advantage of it.
With quality batsmen – Sarfraz and Akmal – at the crease, Pakistan were always in safe hands, and the way Sarfraz was attacking the Lankan bowlers, the Men in Green were in good shape to defeat Sri Lanka.
Though Milinda Siriwardana trapped Sarfraz leg before, damage had already been done with the right-hander scoring 38 runs from 27 balls. Pakistan looked good with Shoaib Malik and Akmal at the batting crease. Akmal stepped up the gear against both the spinners and the seamers, hitting boundaries with ease. It was his innings, which helped Pakistan register their second win in the Asia Cup, scoring 48 runs. Malik scored the winning runs in the 20th over.
Earlier, Pakistan, who won the toss, asked Sri Lanka to bat and the Lankan openers – Dinesh Chandimal and Tillakaratne Dilshan – were cautious as they did not want to give their wicket away. But as soon as they got their eye in, Chandimal and Dilshan took the attack to the opposition, scoring quick runs.
Both the openers played a good hand in Sri Lanka putting up an impressive score of 150 runs. Chandimal scored 49-ball 78, but lost his wicket when he was trying to up the ante. His innings comprised seven fours and a wonderful six.
However, after the dismissal of Chandimal, none of the batsmen, who followed, could handle Pakistan bowlers. The score read 110 for the loss of one wicket when Chandimal went back to the dugout, but were soon 125 for four in no time. Losing wickets at regular intervals led to their down fall.
Despite such poor performance by rest of the batsmen, Dilshan continued his amazing stroke play to help Lanka come up with a good score. The right-hander remained unbeaten on 75 runs. Had Dilshan got decent support from the middle order, the score could have been different, and may be, the match result as well.
Though the match was a dead rubber, Pakistan will be pleased with their showing against Sri Lanka and carry this performance to the World T20 in India, which starts March 8.