Pakistan on Thursday relied on a clinical display to storm into the final of the Asia Cup cricket tournament after thrashing a hapless Sri Lanka by six wickets to record their second successive victory.
After bundling out Sri Lanka for a paltry 188 all out in 45.4 overs, the Pakistanis rode on captain Misbah-ul Haq (72 not out) and Umar Akmal’s (77) record 152-run partnership to cruise to a comfortable victory with a bonus point and with 61 balls to spare at the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium.
Paceman Aizaz Cheema (4/43) and spinner Saeed Ajmal (3/27) played a big role in ripping through the Sri Lankan batting line up which paid the price for some poor shot selections. Only Kumar Sangakkarra (71) and Upul Tharanga (57) managed to put up decent knocks.
The defeat has virtually knocked Sri Lanka out of the tournament having lost both their league matches so far. Sri Lanka had lost to India by 50 runs in their opening match on Tuesday.
If India beat hosts Bangladesh on Friday, the two arch rivals will clash in the summit showdown on March 22, rendering the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka league match consequential.
Pakistan did well to recover from the early jolts as Misbah and Akmal played sensibly to overhaul the target.
Chasing the modest target, the Pakistani openers began cautiously before getting into a more attacking frame of mind with Nasir Jamshed cracking a couple of delightful boundaries off Nuwan Kulasekara.
The islanders struck in the ninth over through Suranga Lakmal who evicted Jamshed, who went for a pull but only succeeded in giving a catch to Upul Tharanga.
From 29 for no loss, Pakistan suddenly slumped to a precarious 33 for three as Mohammad Hafeez (11) and the veteran Younis Khan (2) perished in quick succession. (PTI)