Pakistan gained some confidence back as it defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in its last Twenty-20 encounter in the Asia Cup, thanks to Umar Akmal for his 48 off 37 balls.
Pakistan was defending 151-4 that it scored in 19.2 overs and managed to stop
Sri Lanka posted 150-4 with opener Tillakaratne Dilshan playing an undefeated knock of 75 from 56 balls. Pak chased the score in 19.2 overs, managing to save six wickets as it returned to the pavilion victorius. Sarfraz Ahmed scored 38 for Pakistan while opener Sharjeel Khan made 31.
Akmal’s 56-run partnership with Shoaib Malik (13 not out) was key to Pakistan’s victory. Akmal smashed a six to level the score before another attempt cost his wicket. Malik took a single for the win.
Dilshan claimed 1-2 with his off-spin, while fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara (1-20), off-spinner Shehan Jayasuirya (1-13) and left arm spinner Milinda Siriwardana (1-20) shared the other wickets.
Both teams were already out of contention for Sunday’s final between Bangladesh and India.
Earlier, Dilshan gave his side a good start after Sri Lanka was put into bat.
Dilshan and Dinesh Chandimal combined for a 110-run opening stand by the 15th over - the first century partnership in a tournament dominated by bowlers. Chandimal hit a career-best 58 off 49 balls with seven fours and a six.
Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan (2-18) helped Pakistan to slow down the scoring rate from nearly eight an over to about 6 1/2.
He was aided by offspinner Malik (1-3) and fast bowler Wahab Riaz (1-30).
They bowled in a disciplined manner to help curb Dilshan’s aggressive approach. He hit 10 boundaries and one six in 56 balls.
When Pakistan started its run chase, Shehan Jayasuriya removed Mohammad Hafeez on 14 but Khan and Sarfraz Ahmed kept their team in the hunt.
After Dilshan dismissed Khan for 31, Sarfraz shared a 36-run partnership with Akmal.
After the dismissal of Sarfraz, Akmal played aggressively to lead his side to victory, smashing four boundaries and two sixes in his innings.