Malinga inspires SL to Asia Cup title

Fast-bowler takes five wickets and Lahiru Thirimanne hits ton as Sri Lanka chase down 261 to lift the trophy.

    This was Lasith Malinga's second consecutive five-wicket haul against Pakistan [AFP]
    This was Lasith Malinga's second consecutive five-wicket haul against Pakistan [AFP]

    Lasith Malinga took five wickets and Lahiru Thirimanne returned to torment Pakistan again as in-form Sri Lanka lifted the Asia Cup title after their comprehensive five-wicket victory in the final.

    Asia Cup final scorecard

    Pakistan innings

    S Khan c T Perera c Malinga 8
    A Shehzad c Sangakkara b Malinga 5
    M Hafeez c Sangakkara b Malinga 3
    M Haq c K Perera b Malinga 65
    F Alam not out 114
    U Akmal c Priyanjan b Malinga 59
    S Afridi not out 0

    Extras: (1lb, 5w) 6
    Total: (5 wickets, 50 overs) 260
    Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-17, 3-18, 4-140, 5-255

    Sri Lanka innings

    K Perera st Akmal b Ajmal 42
    L Thirimanne b Ajmal 101
    K Sangakkara lbw b Ajmal 0
    M Jaywardene c Khan b Talha 75
    A Priyanjan c Akmal b Junaid 13
    A Mathews not out 16
    C de Silva not out 6

    Extras: (1b, 1lb, 5w, 1nb) 8
    Total: (5 wickets, 46.2 overs) 261
    Fall of wickets: 1-56, 2-56, 3-212, 4-233, 5-247

    Thirimanne, who hit a century in the tournament opener against Pakistan, replicated the feat by hitting a sparkling 101 and featured in a 156-run partnership with Mahela Jayawardene as Sri Lanka chased down the 261-run victory target with 22 balls to spare.

    Unbeaten in the tournament, Sri Lanka began strongly with their openers putting on a half-century stand before Saeed Ajmal dismissed Kusal Perera (42) and the scoreless Kumar Sangakkara, leading scorer in the tournament until the final, off successive deliveries to reduce them to 56-2 in the 11th over.

    Jayawardene (75) not only denied Ajmal a hat-trick but also shook off his own bad form to forge a match-winning stand with Thirimanne against a Pakistan team, whose sloppy performance on the field did little to help their cause of defending a modest total.

    Thirimanne fell to Ajmal in the 45th over after his third ODI century that contained 13 boundaries but the match was over for Pakistan by then.

    Alam to the rescue

    Earlier, Fawad Alam (114*) struck his maiden century while skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (65) and Umar Akmal (59) chipped in with useful half-centuries to help Pakistan overcome a wobbly start and post 260 for five wickets, all claimed by Malinga.

    Fawad featured in two century-plus stands, with Misbah and Umar, as Pakistan recovered from 18-3 in five overs to eventually post a somewhat competitive total.

    The teams now regroup for the World Twenty20 that takes place in Bangladesh as well.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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