Sri Lanka comfortably beat Pakistan by five wickets in Dhaka, thanks to Lahiru Thirimanne's century, in the Asia cup final.
Victory means Sri Lankan have gone through the whole tournament unbeaten and go into the World Cup in good shape thanks to a big partnership between centurion Lahiru Thirimanne and Mahela Jayawardena in Saturday's final.
Earlier, they had Lasith Malinga to thank who started the match with an unbelievable spell picking up three top-order wickets in the first five overs of the match. Malinga removed Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammed Hafeez in a devastating blitz of fast-bowling which left Pakistan reeling on 18-3.
This brought the usually-reliable captain that is Misbah-ul-Haq to the crease and the recalled Fawad Alam together. A big partnership was needed to help Pakistan recover and make a respectable score and that was exactly what they provided. The duo put on 122 runs for the fourth wicket which was eventually broken by Malinga again, who removed the captain for a classy 65.
Fans were crying out for the introduction of Shahid Afridi, but the big-hitter was kept back, as he had been struggling with injury. Fawad Alam and Umar Akmal then upped the pace by adding 115 runs in just 13 overs. Alam reached his first ODI century, finishing the innings on a brilliant 114 not out whilst Akmal hit a rapid 59 off 42 balls.
Lasith Malinga finished with five wickets, but Pakistan had recovered to make a decent, competitive score. However, after Ajmal took two wickets in two balls, including Sangakkara for a golden duck, Sri Lanka took full control of the game. Man of the match Thirimane and Jayawardene, who hit 75, put on 156 together to take the game away from Pakistan.
But, the runners-up only had themselves to blame with poor fielding and dropped catches helping Sri Lanka along the way. Jayawardene was dropped by Hafeez whilst Thirimane was dropped by Umar Akmal on 36.
All the bowlers except for Saeed Ajmal (3-26) were extremely costly which was unusual for Pakistan, who are often far better with the ball.
Sri Lanka are deserved winners but their are plenty of positives for Pakistan too, going into the World Cup. Fawad Alam returned to the team in fine form and Shahid Afridi is looking dangerous as ever. Their win against India will also give them confidence ahead of their upcoming games.
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