Sri Lanka clinch Asia Cup title

Lasith Malinga took five wickets as Sri Lanka beat Pakistan (AP)

Lasith Malinga took five wickets as Sri Lanka beat Pakistan (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

Sri Lanka were crowned Asia Cup champions after defeating Pakistan by five wickets in Saturday's final at Mirpur.

Fawad Alam scored an unbeaten 114 for Pakistan as they set a victory target of 261 but a century from Lahiru Thirimanne and 75 from Mahela Jayawardene helped to steer Sri Lanka home with 22 balls spare.

Lasith Malinga (five for 56) took all of Pakistan's wickets in a man-of-the-match performance as the defending champions made 260 for five from their 50 overs.

Pakistan must have been questioning their decision to bat first after they were reduced to 18 for three in the fifth over, with Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez all failing to make it into double figures.

That brought captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Alam to the crease, and they put on a partnership of 122 to take the score to 140 for four before Misbah was dismissed for 65.

Umar Akmal's 59 from 42 balls helped Pakistan to gain some late momentum and set a testing target, although Sri Lanka started strongly and moved to 56 from 10 overs before the loss of their first wicket when Kusal Perera was stumped by Akmal off the bowling of Saeed Ajmal for 42.

Next man in Kumar Sangakkara was dismissed off the very next ball to leave Sri Lanka reeling, but Perera's opening partner Thirimanne stood firm and was joined by Jayawardene, who helped move the score on to 212 for three before he was caught by Khan off Mohammad Talha in the 38th over.

Ashan Priyanjan chipped in with 13 and Thirimanne was eventually removed for 101 when he was bowled by Ajmal, but the damage had already been done and Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews scored the winning runs to earn his side the cup.

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