Sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga grabbed five wickets in a devastating final spell to lead Sri Lanka to a 12-run win over defending champions Pakistan in the opening match of the Asia Cup in Fatullah on Tuesday.
Pakistan, chasing Sri Lanka's competitive 296-6, seemed to be cruising at 242-4 in the 43rd over following a fifth-wicket stand of 121 between skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal.
But Malinga turned the tables, finishing with five for 52, as Pakistan lost their last six batsmen for 42 runs to be bowled out for 284 in the penultimate over of the day-night match.
Akmal hit 74 off 72 balls with seven boundaries and three sixes, and Misbah made 73, but Pakistan were unable to apply the finishing touches as pressure mounted on the lower order batsmen.
Sri Lanka's innings revolved around opener Lahiru Thirimanne's 102 off 110, his second one-day hundred, and useful contributions from Kumar Sangakkara (67) and skipper Angelo Mathews (55 not out off 50 balls).
Sri Lanka were at 204-2 in the 36th over when Pakistan slowed the pace by grabbing four wickets in the space of nine overs.
Thirimanne and Sangakkara compiled Sri Lanka's highest second-wicket stand against Pakistan, adding 161 after Kusal Perera fell in the eighth over for 14.
Thirimanne, promoted to open the innings in the absence of the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan, hit 11 fours and a six before he was bowled by Saeed Ajmal in the 36th over.
Sangakkara continued the awesome batting form he showed during the preceding bilateral tour of Bangladesh, where he scored 319 and 105 in the second Test in Chittagong, and 128 in the second one-dayer in Dhaka.
The left-hander hit eight boundaries for his 84th one-day half-century when he gifted away his wicket, pulling a short ball from Gul to Ahmed Shehzad at mid-wicket.
Sharjeel Khan gave Pakistan a flying start, scoring 26 of the 28-run stand for the first wicket with Shehzad.
Shehzad was bowled by debutant left-arm spinner Chaturanga de Silva for 28, and Mohammad Hafeez was leg-before to Mathews for 18 as Pakistan slipped to 83-3 in the 14th over.
It soon became 121-4 as Sohaib Maqsood (17) pulled a short ball from Sachithra Senanayake to de Silva on the mid-wicket fence.
But Misbah and Akmal launched a brilliant fightback to raise Pakisan's hopes, before Malinga stepped in to steer Sri Lanka to victory.
India play hosts Bangladesh at the same venue on Wednesday. Afghanistan is the fifth team in the tournament which decides the regional champion in one-day cricket.
Lasitha Malinga claimed five for 11 in 14 balls to spearhead Sri Lanka to a sensational 12-run victory against Pakistan in opening match of the Asia Cup at Fatullah on Tuesday.
Chasing a daunting target of 297, Pakistan were bolstered by half centuries from skipper Misbah ul Haq (73) and Umar Akmal (74) during a 121-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Pakistan were coasting along at 242-4 in the 43rd over when Akmal was caught behind off Lakmal.
But it was Malinga who triggered a sensational collapse when he returned for his final spell in the 45th over.
He removed the dangerous Afridi who smashed him straight to Chandimal at short mid-off while Misbah fell two balls later.
Bhatti (18) and Ajmal (10) kept alive Pakistan's hopes after Gul perished in the 47th over.
But Malinga trapped Ajmal leg before and bowled Bhatti in the 49th to finish with figures of five for 52.
India play hosts Bangladesh at the same venue on Wednesday. Afghanistan is the fifth team in the tournament.
Malinga claims his fifth wicket by clattering the off stump of Bhatti who gave himself room as Pakistan are all out for 284 in 48.5 overs.
Bilawal Bhatti b Malinga 18 (13b 2x4 0x6)
Malinga traps Ajmal leg before as Pakistan lose their ninth wicket. Pak 281-9 in 48.2 overs.
Saeed Ajmal lbw b Malinga 10 (4b 2x4 0x6)
Pakistan need 17 from 12 balls. Pak 280-8 in 48 overs.
Bhatti cracks the first ball from Lakmal through the covers while Ajmal cracks consecutive boundaries including a scoop to fine leg as Pakistan get 17 in the 48th over.
Pakistan need 34 from 18 balls. Pak 263-8 in 47 overs.
Malinga claims his third wicket as Gul skies it to Chathuranga. Pak 262-8 in 46.5 overs.
Umar Gul c de Silva b Malinga 2 (6b 0x4 0x6)
Bhatti smashes a boundary off Thisara and Pakistan need 37 from 24 balls. Pak 260-7 in 46 overs.
Malinga has struck two crucial blows as Misbah holes out to Senanayake in the deep. Pak 254-7 in 45 overs.
Misbah-ul-Haq c Senanayake b Malinga 73 (84b 4x4 2x6)
Malinga strikes as Afridi smashes straight to Chandimal at short cover. Pak 252-6 in 44.4 overs.
Shahid Afridi c Chandimal b Malinga 4 (7b 0x4 0x6)
Pakistan need 53 off 42 balls with five wickets in hand. Pak 244-5 in 43 overs.
Lakmal has the last laugh as Akmal chased a wide deliveyr to be caught behind ending the 129-run stand for the fifth wicket. Pak 242-5 in 42.3 overs.
Umar Akmal c Sangakkara b Lakmal 74 (72b 7x4 3x6)
Akmal is on fire cracking Chathuranga for a couple of boundaries down the ground and a delicate late cut. Pak 240-4 in 42 overs.
Lakmal goes for 16 as Akmal smashes a couple of boundaries and a six off consecutive balls. Pak 231-4 in 41 overs.
Akmal smashes Lakmal to the midwicket fence to bring up his 18th ODI half century off 61 balls.
He follows it up with a straight drive to the fence to bring up the 100 partnership for the fifth wicket with Misbah off 103 balls.
Pakistan need 82 from 62 balls with six wickets in hand having made 33 without loss in the Batting Powerplay.
Akmal scoops Senanayake inside out over extra cover for a boundary over. Pak 215-4 in 40 overs.
Misbah sweeps Senanayake over midwicket for another massive six to bring up the 200 of the innings. Pak 202-4 in 38 overs.
Misbah flicks Malinga who drifts onto his pads for a boundary to long leg. Pak 195-4 in 37 overs.
Misbah completes his 39th ODI half century and ninth against Sri Lanka with a single off Senanayake. Pak 189-4 in 36 overs.
Misbah (44) survives a confident appeal for a catch behind off Lakmal. Pak 182-4 in 35 overs.
Akmal also slams a boundary off Chathuranga. Pak 176-4 in 33 overs.
Misbah swats Chathuranga to the midwicket fence to bring up the 50 partnership in 53 balls for the fifth wicket with Akmal.
Akmal is on song driving Lakmal effortlessly with superb timing over long-on for his second six and glances him to fine leg for a boundary. Pak 163-4 in 31 overs.
Akmal smashes Mathews over midwicket for a six. Pak 150-4 in 29 overs.
Misbah slams Thisara back over the bowler's head for a massive six as Pakistan reach 129-4 at the halfway stage.
Chaturanga takes a good catch in the deep as Maqsood slogs a half tracker from Senanayake. Pak 121-4 in 23.3 overs.
Sohaib Maqsood c de Silva b Senanayake 17 (27b 1x4 0x6)
Maqsood gets his first boundary via an inside edge off Senanayake. Pak 117-3 in 22 overs.
Misbah whacks Chaturanga to midwicket for his first boundary to bring up the 100 of the innings in the 19th over.
Mathews bowls a maiden to Misbah as the Pakistan captain attempts to rebuild the innings. Pak 88-3 in 16 overs.
Mathews strikes with his third delivery trapping Hafeez leg before. Pak 83-3 in 13.3 overs.
Mohammad Hafeez lbw b Mathews 18 (19b 2x4 0x6)
Chaturanga claims his maiden international wicket sneaking one through the gate of Shehzad in his second over. Pak 77-2 in 12.3 overs.
Ahmed Shehzad b de Silva 28 (37b 4x4 0x6)
Thisara goes for nine in his first over with Hafeez slamming him to the fence with a crisp square drive. Pak 70-1 in 12 overs.
Shehzad is on fire spanking a couple of boundaries off Malinga as Pakistan end the Powerplay overs on 55-1.
Shehzad has changed gears swiftly punching Lakmal through midwicket for another boundary. Pak 44-1 in 9 overs.
Malinga continues to leak runs despite changing ends with Shehzad slamming him through point for his first boundary. Pak 39-1 in 8 overs.
Hafeez is off the mark with a boundary first ball flicking Lakmal to backward square leg. Pak 34-1 in 7 overs.
Lakmal strikes with his first delivery after switching ends as Sharjeel pulls straight to Mathews at mid-on. Pak 28-1 in 6.1 overs.
Sharjeel Khan c Mathews b Lakmal 26 (23b 4x4 1x6)
Sharjeel is on fire smacking the first ball from spinner Senanayake over midwicket for a six. Pak 28-0 in 6 overs.
Sharjeel smashes Malinga off consecutive balls over mid-on and square leg as Pakistan make a solid start. Pak 21-0 in 5 overs.
Sharjeel hits his second boundary pulling Lakmal over midwicket. Pak 12-0 in 4 overs.
Shehzad survives a confident shout for leg before off Lakmal who opens with a maiden. Pak 4-0 in 2 overs.
Sharjeel is off the mark with a boundary whipping the last ball from Malinga to square leg. Pak 4-0 in 1 over.
SRI LANKA INNINGS
Sri Lanka make 296-6 in 50 overs despite being contained somewhat in the last 15 overs with skipper Mathews being unbeaten on 55 off 50 balls.
Having elected to bat first, Sri Lanka were propelled by a record second wicket stand of 161 in 146 balls by Lahiru Thirimanne (102) and Kumar Sangakkara (67).
Sri Lanka were coasting along comfortably at 203-2 after 35 overs and were looking good for a total in excess of 300 at that stage.
Sangakkara cracked eight boundaries in his 65-ball 67 and Thirimanne stroked 11 fours and a six in his century.
But their dismissal triggered a mini-collapse which saw Pakistan snatch back the initiative restricting them to 93 in the last 15 overs by grabbing four wickets.
Sangakkara miscued Gul while Thirimanne was bowled by Ajmal.
Afridi turned his golden arm to strike crucial blows bowling Jayawardene and removing the dangerous Thisara to finish with two for 56.
Gul claimed two for 38. Mathews gets his 18th ODI fifty and then slaps a boundary off Junaid as Sri Lanka finish on 296-6 in 50 overs.
Ajmal finishes with superb figures of 9-0-50-1. SL 285-6 in 49 overs.
Mathews scoops Junaid inside out for a boundary to extra cover. SL 280-6 in 48 overs.
Ajmal concedes just three runs. SL 271-6 in 47 overs.
Chandimal gets a welcome boundary for Sri Lanka pulling Junaid to midwicket. SL 268-6 in 46 overs.
A direct hit to the non-strikers' end accounts for the dismissal of debutant Chathuranga as Pakistan fight back. SL 251-6 in 43.3 overs.
Chathuranga de Silva run out 2 (2b 0x4 0x6)
Afridi finishes with figures of 10-0-56-2. SL 250-5 in 43 overs.
Afridi strikes again as Thisara Perera holing out to the man in the boundary as Sri Lanka look to step up the tempo. SL 245-5 in 42.1 overs.
Thisara Perera c Ahmed Shehzad b Shahid Afridi 6 (9b 0x4 0x6)
Mathews lofts Bhatti back over the bowler for a boundary. SL 245-4 in 42 overs.
Pakistan peg back Sri Lanka in the Batting Powerplay losing two for 29. SL 232-4 in 40 overs.
Mathews slams Ajmal through the covers for another boundary. SL 232-4 in 40 overs.
Afridi strikes getting the big wicket of Mahela who chops the ball onto his stumps. SL 224-4 in 38.5 overs.
Mahela Jayawardene b Shahid Afridi 13 (19b 0x4 0x6)
Mathews attacks Ajmal sweeping him to the square leg fence and smashing him for a six over long-on off consecutive balls. SL 220-3 in 38 overs.
Ajmal strikes castling centurion Thirimanne who plays a tired looking shot and beaten by the turn. SL 204-3 in 35.2 overs.
Lahiru Thirimanne b Saeed Ajmal 102 (110b 11x4 1x6)
The Batting Powerplay is taken with Sri Lanka 203-2 in 35 overs.
Thirimanne completes his second ODI century off 107 by driving Gul through the offside for a single as drinks are take with Sri Lanka 199-2 in 34 overs.
Thirimanne is eyeing his second ODI century moving to 97 by smashing Afridi over mid-off for a boundary. SL 196-2 in 33 overs.
Gul breaks the second wicket partnership which yielded 161 as Sangakkara miscues a pull shot straight to the fielder at short midwicket. SL 189-2 in 31.5 overs.
Kumar Sangakkara c Ahmed Shehzad b Umar Gul 67 (65b 8x4 0x6)
Thirimanne hits the first six of the match sweeping Ajmal over midwicket. SL 186-1 in 31 overs.
Sangakkara is on song launches Pakistan's best bowler Gul with a delectable scoop over mid-off for another boundary. SL 175-1 in 30 overs.
Thirimanne sweeps Hafeez to the midwicket fence as Sri Lanka seems on course for a big total. SL 168-1 in 29 overs.
Sangakkara bring ups his 84th ODI half century by pulling Hafeez for his sixth boundary as Pakistan wilt on an unresponsive track. SL 156-1 in 27 overs.
Thirimanne chips Afridi back over the bowler for a boundary while Sangakkara slams him over extra cover to the fence. SL 145-1 in 26 overs.
Sri Lanka are well placed at the halfway stage having lost just one wicket for 135.
The 100 partnership between Thirimanne (63) and Sangakkara (38) for the second wicket comes up in 99 balls. SL 130-1 in 24 overs.
Thirimanne edges Ajmal past the vacant slip for another boundary. SL 125-1 in 23 overs.
Thirimanne tickles Afridi's second belivery down the leg side for a boundary and survives a close call for a run out following a direct hit from Gul. SL 120-1 in 22 overs.
Afridi comes into the attack replacing Bhatti whose three overs cost 19.
Sangakkara survives after being beaten by a doosra from Ajmal which runs to the boundary. SL 114-1 in 21 overs.
Sri Lanka's second fifty has come off just 41 balls as they step up the tempo.
Thirimanne completes his seventh ODI half century and first against Pakistan off 56 balls by clipping Bhatti for a single. SL 107-1 in 20 overs.
Ajmal comes into the attack as Pakistan desperately look to break the dangerous partnership between Thirimmane and Sangakkara. SL 99-1 in 19 overs.
Sangakkara skips down the track and drives Junaid wide of mid-on for another boundary. SL 93-1 in 18 overs.
Thirimanne gets a couple of boundaries off Bhatti with a late cut to third man and pulling him behind square leg as drinks are taken with Sri Lanka 82-1 in 17 overs.
The 50-run partnership between Thirimanne and Sangakkara comes off just 54 balls.
The Sri Lankan pair are showing some urgency in running between the wickets to pick up singles and convert them into doubles. SL 74-1 in 16 overs.
Bhatti comes into the attack for the first time. SL 67-1 in 15 overs.
Sangakkara thumps Junaid down the ground for a boundary after surviving a confident appeal for a catch behind earlier. SL 63-1 in 14 overs.
Sangakkara steps out and lofts Hafeez over long-on for a boundary. SL 57-1 in 13 overs.
Junaid returns to the attack changing ends but Thirimanne given width on the off finds the third man fence easily. SL 49-1 in 12 overs.
Hafeez is back into the attack replacing Junaid. SL 43-1 in 11 overs.
Thirimanne steers Gul through point for a boundary as Sri Lanka make 41-1 in the Powerplay overs.
Pakistan make their first bowling change with Junaid replacing Hafeez after an opening spell of 4-0-16-0. SL 33-1 in 9 overs.
Sangakkara opens his account by cracking the second delivery from Gul through the covers for a delightful boundary. SL 32-1 in 8 overs.
Gul draws first blood as Kusal gives and outside edge to the keeper after having clubbed the bowler to the mid-on fence the previous delivery. SL 28-1 in 7.3 overs.
Kusal Perera c Umar Akmal b Umar Gul 14 (26b 3x4 0x6)
Thirimanne drives Hafeez through the covers for another exquisite boundary. SL 24-0 in 7 overs.
Kusal survives a confident shout for leg before off Gul. SL 18-0 in 6 overs.
Kusal gets another boundary with a late cut behind point off Hafeez. SL 17-0 in 5 overs.
Gul bowls an excellent over beating Thirimanne who clips him for a couple in the final delivery. SL 13-0 in 4 overs.
Kusal who survived a dropped chance in the first over, hits his first boundary cutting Hafeez to point. SL 11-0 in 3 overs.
Thirimanne hits the first boundary of the match driving Gul through the covers with superb timing. SL 7-0 in 2 overs.
Misbah has thrown the new ball to spinner Hafeez as Sri Lanka have two left handed openers in Kusal and Thirimanne. SL 2-0 in 1 over.
Sri Lanka have handed a debut to left hand batsman Chathuranga de Silva.
Pakistan: Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Bilawal Bhatti, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan
Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Chathuranga de Silva, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal
Sri Lanka have won the toss and opted to bat first in the Asia Cup opener against Pakistan at Fatullah on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews shruged off the absence of Nuwan Kulasekera and Tillakaratne Dilshan, while veteran Mahela Jayawardene returns from injury.
"Kulasekara and Dilshan are out, but we have a full strength side apart from them," said Mathews at the toss. "It's a new game, a new tournament and we have to be on our guard. Getting momentum early and pushing it along is important. They're a very good side and Misbah is in great form as well."
Pakistan captain Misbah ul Haq expected a slow pitch.
"Don't really know what to make of this pitch, but the last time we played here it was quite slow. We're playing the same side that played in Abu Dhabi last time," he said.
Pakistan is determined to defend its trophy, but Sri Lanka's captain Angelo Mathews remains optimistic as the two Asian giants face off in the opening match of the five-nation Asia Cup on Tuesday, in the run-up to the Twenty20 World Cup.
Pakistan, which won the title in 2012, is aiming to put pressure on its opponents with a team balancing experienced players and newcomers.
Both teams are focusing not just on the opening match but on the whole tournament.
“We have played a lot against Pakistan and India,” Mathews told reporters at a news briefing on Monday.
“We know them and they also know us.”
“All the teams are even. They will want to win the matches. We also would like to win. Hopefully there will be a really good competition,” he added.
For Tuesday's opening match at Fatullah, Sri Lanka has one thing in its favour, having played here a month ago against Bangladesh, winning two Tests, three one-day internationals and two Twenty20s.
“I think we need to show more good performance to go further,” Mathews said.
“We beat Bangladesh 3-0, that doesn't mean that it would be easier for us to win the Asia Cup. It will be a tough tournament and there will be huge challenges.”
“The main challenge will be to tackle spinners successfully. All the teams have good spinners,” he added.
Pakistan's skipper Misbah-ul-Haq said on Sunday they are taking spirit from the series wins over Sri Lanka and South Africa, and will fight to defend the Asia Cup title.
The team beat Bangladesh in the 2012 final.
While the team has several relatively inexperienced players including Sharjeel Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Talha, Bilawal Bhatti and Anwar Ali, it also has Misbah himself and Mohammad Hafeez, who will play the key role in batting.
“Ahmed Shehzad has been part of our team for quite a while, he has been doing well,” Misbah said.
“Sharjeel Khan had an average series, but he gave glimpses of being a good player, he can time the ball well. We are looking forward to seeing him develop into a good player,” he said. He has faith in Sohaib Maqsood too.
“Maqsood played well in South Africa and against Sri Lanka. With experienced players, a few youngsters like Anwar Ali and Bilawal Bhatti, they are putting together some good scores. I am happy that it is a good, balanced unit,” he said.
The Pakistan skipper is not willing to take the Asia Cup tournament lightly, and is even serious about first-timer Afghanistan.
“All teams have ability to win against any side,” he said.
“It will be good competition. The last Asia Cup was witness of that: Bangladesh beat two big teams and they came close to us. You can expect any team can win against any team."
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Fawad Alam, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Talha
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Lasith Malinga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Dhammika Prasad, Suranga Lakmal, Chaturanga De Silva, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Ashan Priyanjan