Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Malinga, Thirimanne shape Lanka’s win

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Fatullah: Speedster Lasith Malinga’s brilliant five-wicket haul under pressure and opener Lahiru Thirimanne’s second ODI century helped Sri Lanka script a thrilling 12-run win over Pakistan in a nail-biting opening match of the Asia Cup here on Tuesday.

Malinga produced a sensational spell of death bowling, picking up key wickets at crucial junctures to ensure the win for his side with seven balls to spare.

Chasing an imposing 297 for victory, Pakistan were on course for a remarkable triumph before Malinga came up with a fiery spell to bowl out the Men in Green for 284 in 48.5 overs.

Malinga first sent back dangerman Shahid Afridi (4) and well-settled skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (73) in a span of three deliveries in his eighth over before returning to dismiss Saeed Ajmal (10) and Bilawal Bhatti (18) in his final over to finish with figures of 5-52.

Earlier, Thirimanne struck a fine 110-ball 102 to power Sri Lanka to a challenging 296 for six.

Thirimanne hit 11 fours and a six in his innings and starred in a 161-run stand with Kumar Sangakkara (67) for the second wicket to lay the foundation for a huge score.

Pakistan tried to make a comeback in the middle overs as they picked up a few wickets, before skipper Angelo Matthews provided the late charge, cracking a 50-ball 55, to take Sri Lanka close to the 300-mark.

Pakistan failed to build partnerships at the top during their run chase as they lost their first four wickets for 121 before Misbah and Umar Akmal (74) led a sensational fightback with attacking fifties.

Both added 121 runs for the fifth-wicket partnership to bring Pakistan back into the game but Malinga held his nerves and produced a match-winning spell to grab full points for his team.

Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews heaped praise on Malinga for his performance.

“Malinga is the best bowler for us and has been in the past few years. Whenever we are under pressure he is our go to man and he did it again,” Mathews said at the post-match presentation ceremony of the Man-of-the-Match. (PTI)

SCORECARD

Sri Lanka:
K Perera c Akmal b Gul            14
L Thirimanne b Ajmal              102
K San’kara c Shehzad b Gul    67
M Jayawardene b Afridi          13
A Mathews not out                   55
T Perera c Shehzad b Afridi        6
C de Silva run out                      2
D Chandimal not out                 19
Extras: (b-4, lb-6, w-8)           18
Total: (6 wkts; 50 overs)       296
FOW: 1-28, 2-189, 3-204, 4-224, 5-245, 6-251
Bowling: Hafeez 9-0-54-0, Gul 8-0-38-2, Junaid 9-0-61-0, Bhatti 4-0-27-0, Ajmal 10-0-50-1, Afridi 10-0-56-2
Pakistan:
S Khan c Mathews b Lakmal   26
A Shehzad b de Silva              28
M Hafeez lbw b Mathews         18
S M’sood c de Silva b Se’yake 17
Misbah c Se’yake b Malinga   73
U Akmal c San’kara b Lakmal  74
S Afridi c Chandimal b Malinga   4
B Bhatti b Malinga                   18
U Gul c de Silva b Malinga         2
S Ajmal lbw b Malinga             10
J Khan not out                            1
Extras: (lb-3, w-10)                13
Total: (all out; 48.5 overs)      284
FOW: 1-28, 2-77, 3-83, 4-121, 5-242, 6-252, 7-254, 8-262, 9-281
Bowling: Malinga 9.5-0-52-5, Lakmal 9-1-65-2, Senanayake 9-0-47-1, de Silva 10-1-56-1, Perera 6-0-36-0, Mathews 5-1-25-1

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