Sri Lanka have retained their status as the world’s top Twenty20 team by beating Pakistan by 24 runs in a thrilling finish to the second game in Dubai.
The win also levelled the two-match series at 1-1 on Friday after Pakistan won the first match by three wickets.
Kusal Perera hit a career best 59-ball 84 and spinner Sachitra Senanayake took three wickets in a match with full of runs and records.
The series draw kept Sri Lanka at number one in the Twenty20 rankings, shattering Pakistan’s hopes of claiming the top spot.
Chasing a daunting 212-run target, Pakistan finished at 187 in 19.2 overs with Sharjeel Khan scoring 50 and Sohail Tanvir making 41.
Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal was excited at holding on to the number one ranking.
“We are over the moon,” Chandimal said.
“We keep our number one ranking.
“Kusal and Dilshan Tillakaratne batted really well.
“After that Seekkuge Prasanna and Kumar Sangakkara batted well at the end so it was a good total.”
Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez admitted they conceded too many runs.
“We didn’t bowl in the right areas early on, and they got a score higher than what we expected,” he said.
Perera had been ably supported by Dilshan (48) and Sangakkara (44*).
Pakistan fought valiantly despite Sharjeel’s 25-ball 50 but they slumped from 83-3 to 85-7 in the space of just seven balls.
They looked well set when Sharjeel brought up his fifty off just 24 balls with two towering sixes off Seekkuge Prasanna but was bowled by the leg-spinner in the same over.
Senanayake, who finished with 3-27, then chipped in with the wickets of Umar Amin and Bilawal Bhatti for nought in the same over.
Sohail Tanvir added 63 for the ninth wicket with Saeed Ajmal (20) – the highest stand for this wicket in all T20 cricket – but the target proved beyond Pakistan’s reach.
The previous highest T20 total against Pakistan was 191, made twice by Australia.
The two teams now play five One-Day Internationals, with the first game in Sharjah on Wednesday.
They will also play three Tests.