FATULLAH, February 25, 2014 (AFP) – Sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga grabbed five wickets in a devastating final spell to lead Sri Lanka to a 12-run win over defending champions Pakistan in the opening match of the Asia Cup in Fatullah on Tuesday. Pakistan, chasing Sri Lanka’s competitive 296-6, seemed to be cruising at 242-4 in the 43rd over following a fifth-wicket stand of 121 between skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal.
But Malinga turned the tables, finishing with five for 52, as Pakistan lost their last six batsmen for 42 runs to be bowled out for 284 in the penultimate over of the day-night match.
Akmal hit 74 off 72 balls with seven boundaries and three sixes, and Misbah made 73, but Pakistan were unable to apply the finishing touches as pressure mounted on the lower order batsmen.
Sri Lanka’s innings revolved around opener Lahiru Thirimanne’s 102 off 110, his second one-day hundred, and useful contributions from Kumar Sangakkara (67) and skipper Angelo Mathews (55 not out off 50 balls).
Sri Lanka were at 204-2 in the 36th over when Pakistan slowed the pace by grabbing four wickets in the space of nine overs.
Thirimanne and Sangakkara compiled Sri Lanka’s highest second-wicket stand against Pakistan, adding 161 af