Home > Match report >

Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Malinga star as Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 5 wickets in Asia Cup 2014 final

Lahiru Thirimanne scored his second ton in the Asia Cup © AFP
Lahiru Thirimanne scored his second ton in the Asia Cup © AFP

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Mar 8, 2014

It was a comprehensive performance from Sri Lanka as they lifted fifth Asia Cup; their first since 2008. While Lasith Malinga led the way by picking all five wickets earlier in the day, it was a convincing performance from Lahiru Thirimanne that sealed the deal for his side. It was Malinga’s second consecutive five-for and Thirimanne’s second consecutive century against Pakistan as Sri Lanka beat the defending champions in both their encounters of this edition.

Chasing 261 for victory, Sri Lanka may have felt a bit jittery when Saeed Ajmal rocked them in the 11th over with twin strikes, but then Mahela Jayawardene joined Thirimanne in the middle set the platform for a five-wicket victory. Jayawardene had been out of form earlier in the tournament and needed an innings if substance. It came at the right time as he crossed fifty after 13 One-Day International (ODI) innings. While Thirimanne was the more attacking batsman, Jayawardene started slowly and then accelerated.

Sri Lanka were bolstered by Kusal Perera early on in their run-chase. Playing with that Sanath Jayasuriya-like bravado, he smashed Umar Gul square of the wicket on both sides. He pulled with disdain and cut with conviction, speeding away to 42. However, Ajmal came in the 11th over and had him stumped with one that invited him down the track and beat him. Kumar Sangakkara came in and was hit on the pads first up and was given out leg-before.

Jayawardene and Thirimanne’s stand battled a few nervous moments. Umar Akmal dropped Thirimanne off Shahid Afridi and Jayawardene also survived a caught-behind appeal. But, they continued to increase the scoring rate, essaying some delightful strokes. Jayawardene’s most attacking stroke came off Afridi as he pulled him for six. Thirimanne was ready to punish anything off-line and he sped away to fifty.

The partnership kept growing and went past 100 and then 150. In a matter of 27 overs, they had scored over 150 before Jayawardene was out caught on 75 as he tried to loft Mohammad Talha over the infield. Ashan Priyanjan looked good during his brief stay, but Junaid Khan dismissed him for 13 to take his first wicket in the series. It was too late though as Sri Lanka needed under 30 to win. Thirimanne got his ton and Angelo Mathews stayed on till the finish. Thirimanne was dismissed soon after his ton as Ajmal broke through his defences.

Earlier, Pakistan had won the toss and had chosen to bat first; scoring 260. Sri Lanka had dropped Ajantha Mendis, a decision that did attract some attention — bringing back memories of the 2011 World Cup final.

Malinga was too hot to handle early on. While Sharjeel Khan started with two boundaries, he was dismissed as he tried to loft him in the first over and was caught at mid-on. Malinga then held his line in the corridor of uncertainty and had Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez poking at deliveries outside the off-stump.

At 18 for three, Pakistan needed some good batting when Fawad Alam and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq came together. Starting cautiously, they rebuilt the Pakistan innings. Both were gritty at best early on, only attacking the rank bad deliveries. Misbah even survived a shout as he had clearly edged the ball. However, their partnership grew and they accelerated as the innings progressed.

Misbah crossed 50 with almost 20 overs to go and could have got to his ton. However, on 65, he tried to loft Malinga over long-off but only managed to offer a catch to the fielder at long-on. Pakistan were 140 for four in the 37th over. Umar Akmal walked out and smashed the Sri Lankan bowling. Even Alam had increased pace by then and smashed three sixes in all, one of them getting his ton. Interestingly, he had hit only three sixes before this game.

In the last ten overs, Pakistan smashed 101 runs with Alam getting to his first ODI ton. Akmal reached his fifty in the penultimate over. Malinga ensured the end wasn’t too bad for Sri Lanka after a few expensive overs. He dismissed Akmal in the last over to get his fifth wicket. A target of 260 was going to be challenging, but Sri Lanka made it look all too easy.

This victory also breaks a losing streak in the finals for Sri Lanka. That should help them overcome the jinx in the near future.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 260 for 5 in 50 overs (Misbah-ul-Haq 65, Fawad Alam 114*, Umar Akmal 59; Lasith Malinga 5 for 52) lost to Sri Lanka 261 for 5 in 46.2 overs (Lahiru Thirimanne 101, Mahela Jayawardene 75; Saeed Ajmal 3 for 26) by 5 wickets.

Man of the Match: Lasith Malinga.

Man of the Series: Lahiru Thirimanne.

Full Scorecard

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

West Indies tour of India 2014, Practice match

Oct 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Mumbai

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Brisbane

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Barbados won by 6 wkts (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Perth Scorchers won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 29, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 36 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

Photos

Barbados Tridents vs Hobart Hurricanes, CLT20 2014

Videos

Arjuna Ranatunga shares his views on U-19 cricket

CLT20 2014: Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers, Match 19, Highlights

Pakistan players would be allowed in IPL soon, hopes Shahryar Khan

Nawaz Sharif’s only First-Class appearance

Ernie Jones — the man who sent a ball through the beard of WG Grace

Top score by a batsman whose teammates scored less than 10 each in a T20

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Lahore Lions Perth Scorchers

Asian Games 2014: India’s Aarti Khakal ousted in taekwondo

Kagiso Rabada is a special talent, says selector Andrew Hudson

ICC late in pulling up bowlers with suspect actions, feels John Davison

CLT20 2014: It was a disappointing finish for Northern Knights, says Tim Southee

Pakistan players would be allowed in IPL soon, hopes Shahryar Khan

CLT20 2014: Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers, Match 19, Highlights

Nawaz Sharif’s only First-Class appearance

Ernie Jones — the man who sent a ball through the beard of WG Grace

Top score by a batsman whose teammates scored less than 10 each in a T20

Gautam Gambhir becomes second player after MS Dhoni to captain in 100 T20 matches

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

671 Posts | 6 Fans

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab- Final Match Highlights from IPL 2014

Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Prabhu Deva attend special screening of Shahid Kapoor-Shraddha Kapoor starrer Haider – View pics!

Asian Games 2014 Live Updates: MC Mary loses first round 9-10 to Zhaina Shekerbekova in Women’s 48-51 kg final

Haider movie review: Bollywood celebrities rave about Shahid Kapoor’s spectacular performance

Asian Games 2014: India go down fighting to Japan in men’s volleyball

Ebola in US: Will health authorities contain the spread of Ebola virus?

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Revealed: Aamir Khan’s new look – View pics!

Apple iPad Air 2 to have a gold variant, will be unveiled in October event: Report

NGOs pursue education for all

ICC late in pulling up bowlers with suspect actions, feels John Davison

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here