Pakistan respond to criticism with Sri Lanka victory


Pakistan responded to fierce criticism from PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan by claiming a six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in their Asia Cup dead rubber.

Khan has lamented the "painful experience" of watching Pakistan fail to qualify for the final, indicating changes will be made - on and off the field - both before and after the World Twenty20, which gets under way in India this month.

Umar Akmal hit 48 after a marginal improvement at the top of the batting order, as Pakistan chased down their 151-run target with four balls remaining.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (75 not out) and Dinesh Chandimal (58) put defending World T20 champions Sri Lanka on a sound footing with an opening partnership of 110 - the former, who survived two dropped catches, becoming the first man from the country to surpass 5,000 runs in T20 cricket.

However, the supporting cast failed to back up a strong start as Sri Lanka amassed just 40 runs at a cost of three wickets following the dismissal of Chandimal with the first ball of the 15th over.

Pakistan's openers have been in the spotlight following a string of dismal performances and, while they did little to completely dispel lingering questions over their form, Sharjeel Khan (31), Mohammad Hafeez (14) and Sarfraz Ahmed (38) chipped away at the target.

Umar's 48 off 37 deliveries edged Pakistan closer to victory and Shoaib Malik (13 not out) finished the job after Umar had been impressively caught by Thisara Perera.

There was an element of good fortune about Shoaib's winning run, with Nuwan Kulasekara dropping a seemingly simple chance at mid-off.

The result sees Pakistan finish third, with Sri Lanka fourth, ahead of Sunday's final between hosts Bangladesh and India.