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A good batting display by the top order helped Pakistan score 151 and beat Sri Lanka by six wickets with four balls to spare in the Asia Cup T20 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium here on Friday.
Umar Akmal, who scored a fine 48 (37b, 4×4, 2×6), was the pick of the Pakistani batsmen after Sarfraz Ahmed (38) and Sharjeel Khan (31) had given a good start.
Given a fairly sporting wicket, the Pakistan bowlers did well to contain the Sri Lankans first before the batsmen, who had faced criticism for under-performing in the tournament, got together to see the team past the target.
Umar Akmal, who had had a forgettable tournament so far, did a fair bit of hitting and paired in a 56-run partnership with Shoaib Malik to see Pakistan close to the target. Akmal got out trying to hit the winning run after having seen the scores tied. Malik completed the formalities.
Pakistan made three changes, bringing in Wahab Riaz, Iftikar Ahmed and Mohammad Nawaz in place of Mohammad Sami, Khurram Manzoor and Anwar Ali from the team that lost to Bangladesh and crashed out of the tournament.
Earlier, Tillakaratne Dilshan’s return to form was the gain for Sri Lanka which scored 150 for four after being asked to bat.
Dilshan enthralled a sparse gathering with a fine knock that revived images of his batting ability. Dilshan gave the Sri Lankan batting stability, by remaining unbeaten on 75 (56 balls). Sri Lanka tried its third captain in the tournament, resting Angelo Mathews, who had stood in for Lasith Malinga, and giving the mantle to Dinesh Chandimal.
Dilshan played the lead in the opening partnership with Chandimal and the two worked up a 110-run stand, the biggest in the tournament so far.
Chandimal timed his shots well and struck seven fours and a six on his way to 58 (49 balls) before departing in the 15th over. Carrying his bat, Dilshan struck 10 fours and a six to take Sri Lanka to a competitive score.