| Sri Lankas Angelo Mathews (left) runs out Pakistans Kamran Akmal as Lasith Malinga looks on during their group F match at Lords on Friday. (AP) |
London: Sri Lanka relied on clinical bowling to script a comfortable 19-run victory over Pakistan in their Super Eight match in the T20 World Cup Friday.
After putting up a competitive 150 for seven largely built around Tillekaratne Dilshans 46, the islanders restricted Pakistan to 131 for nine at Lords to take full points.
Except for a 66-run run partnership for the fourth wicket between captain Younis Khan, who top-scored with a 37-ball 50, and deputy Misbah-ul Haq, Pakistan never really looked like overhauling the Lanka total.
They had a fumbling start with opener Salman Butt out on the third ball and found themselves on the back foot after losing two wickets in the sixth over before Younis and Misbah revived the innings.
But, once Younis was out in the 17th over wickets fell in a heap at the death and last editions runners-up only tried to reduce the margin of defeat.
For Lanka, fast bowler Lasith Malinga was the wrecker-in-chief with a fine spell of 3 for 17 from his four overs.
Muttiah Muralidharan returned two for 28 from his four overs while Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekera took a wicket apiece.
Earlier, electing to bat, the Lankan opening pair of Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillekaratne Dilshan took the opposition bowlers to the cleaners, sharing an 81-run stand from nine overs, before slow bowlers Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal brought Pakistan back into the match.
Having scored 86 for one at the half-way mark and 120 for four at the end of the 15th over, Lanka were threatening to post a huge total but once Afridi and Ajmal started bowling in tandem, they found the going tough. Lanka could add just 30 runs from the last five overs while losing four wickets in the process.
For Pakistan, Afridi, Ajmal and Umar Gul took two wickets apiece conceding 23, 26 and 34 runs respectively.
For Pakistan, Sohail Tanvir was wayward in his opening spell of two overs, which ended with 20 balls being bowled instead of 12.
Jayasuriya was out to Afridi on the last ball of the ninth over when he holed out to Younis Khan after making a 24-ball 26 that included two fours and a six. Dilshan was bowled by Afridi while going for a cut two balls before the half-way mark and with it Pakistan recovered some lost ground.
The twin blows brought the run rate down and put pressure on Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
Sangakkara (15) perished as he stepped out of the crease for a big hit off Ajmal only to miss the line and Kamran Akmal pulled off an easy stumping.
Lanka just could not get going in the late overs as the wickets fell in a heap.