Misbah and Umar make Sri Lanka pay
Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal struck half-centuries as Pakistan claimed a 4-1 series win over Sri Lanka with a three-wicket victory at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Walking to the crease at 51 for two, Misbah compiled 66 and shared in a fifth-wicket partnership of 84 with Umar, who made an unbeaten 61 from 60 balls, as Pakistan reached their victory target with 16 deliveries remaining.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Sri Lanka were reliant on Kumar Sangakkara, who hit 78, and Angelo Mathews’ 61 as the pair put on 118 for the fifth wicket.
But once the duo departed within five overs of each other, their side could only stutter to 218 for nine in 50, with left-arm paceman Sohail Tanvir doing the bulk of the damage by taking 4-34 from seven.
Sri Lanka did not make the best start as Tanvir had Upul Tharanga caught behind by Umar for three before Umar Gul struck to remove Tillakaratne Dilshan, who pushed loosely outside off stump to provide Umar with his second catch.
Dinesh Chandimal pushed Tanvir to Younus Khan at slip and Chamara Silva followed, edging the same bowler to Misbah in the cordon, to leave Sri Lanka reeling on 46 for four.
It was left to Sangakkara, ably assisted by Mathews, to guide the designated away side to a passable total.
The duo got their side back on track until their 28-over partnership came to an end when Sangakkara fell to Mohammad Hafeez.
Then, after Jeevan Mendis was stumped off Afridi, Mathews’ 101-ball innings concluded when he was bowled by Saeed Ajmal.
Tanvir returned to make a double breakthrough, ending Thisara Perera’s cameo of 25 and removing Lasith Malinga, who provided Misbah with his third catch, as Sri Lanka ended their innings without any real conviction.
Pakistan’s openers played watchfully for the first eight overs until Hafeez was caught behind by Sangakkara for 14 from a swinging Dilhara Fernando delivery.
Asad Shafiq was trapped in front by Mathews as Pakistan slipped to 51 for two in the 14th over.
However, Younus and captain Misbah steadied the ship by putting on 62 before the former was trapped lbw by Mendis for 34.
Shoaib Malik fell in similar fashion to the next delivery but Umar negotiated Mendis’ hat-trick ball.
Misbah picked out Perera at short third-man after trying to reverse sweep Mendis, which brought the big-hitting Shahid Afridi to the crease. However, the all-rounder fell for four when he looped up a Malinga short ball into the hands of Sangakkara.
Tanvir then hit out and was smartly caught in the deep by Chandimal off Fernando but Umar steered Pakistan to victory.