Sri Lanka, Pakistan seek consolation victory


Pakistan will be looking to end the "sad story" of their Asia Cup failure on a winning note by beating Sri Lanka in the last match of the group stage on Friday.

India and Bangladesh are set to contest the final after the latter, the tournament's hosts, defeated Pakistan by five wickets in Mirpur on Wednesday.

Pakistan's only win from three matches - they also lost to India - came against the United Arab Emirates and coach Waqar Younis, speaking after the defeat to Bangladesh, directed the blame at his underperforming batsmen. 

"It's a sad story," Waqar said.

"Pitches are helping the bowlers a bit and I think that's put the batsmen in their shell. There was the odd innings ... but overall, it's been a batting failure for Pakistan."

The selection of Khurram Manzoor as an opener has been widely criticised in Pakistan and he has done nothing to help his cause with scores of 10, 0 and 1.

The under-fire 29-year-old received little in the way of support from his coach, who hinted at potential changes ahead of the World Twenty20 later this month.

"It wasn't my decision [to pick Manzoor]," Waqar said.

"Like I've said before, the selectors have taken the decision and whatever the squad I am given, I try to get the best out of them and I guess they will probably look into ... what is necessary ... and then decide."

The same message came from the Sri Lanka camp after they, missing veteran bowler Lasith Malinga through injury since their opening game against UAE, also lost to Bangladesh and India to miss out on the final.

"We are depending on a handful of seniors most of the time," captain Angelo Mathews said.

"If the seniors fail, we are in a spot of bother ... unfortunately we haven't clicked. It will take a little time for the younger guys to start performing. We have to be patient, but this is not the right time to be patient."

After their Asia Cup dead rubber, Sri Lanka's defence of the World T20 title will begin with a match against a qualifier - Scotland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan or Hong Kong - in Kolkata on March 17. 

Pakistan also face a qualifier first, one of Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland or Oman, at the same venue, Eden Gardens, a day earlier.