Skipper Shoaib Malik helped Pakistan overcome an early wobble to post another intimidating score at Wanderers in the first innings of their World Twenty20 Super Eights match against Sri Lanka Monday.
Malik top-scored with 57 out of a total of 189 for six with support from their most experienced batsman Younis Khan (51) in a stand worth 101 from only 58 balls as both men made hay against Sanath Jayasuriya who conceded 64 off his four overs -- the most expensive figures of the tournament so far.
Pakistan were sent into bat in perfect night-time conditions after Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and chose to field.
His decision seemed to be vindicated during the opening overs from Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernando who ensured that Pakistan ended the seventh over on 37 with three wickets down.
Imran Nazir was the first to depart, tamely lobbing a slower ball from the veteran Vaas to Jehan Mubarak, fielding in the covers, for seven at the end of the third over with the score on 22.
Fellow opener Salman Butt followed him back to the changing room only two balls later, clean bowled as he looked to smash Fernando out of the ground for 12.
Fernando then bowled a rare maiden at the Wanderers during the Twenty20 tournament which included the wicket of the dangerous looking Mohammed Hafeez, again bowled with the score on 33.
The extra speed of Lasith Malinga had the effect of accelerating the pace of the Pakistan innings, his first over going for 12.
Jayasuriya suffered similar punishment in his first over, with the Pakistan batsmen appearing to target the 38-year-old spinner as the weak link in the Sri Lankan armoury. His first two overs went for 15.
Worse was to follow in his third. After Younis brought up the century with a boundary off the 77th ball of the innings, Jayasuriya was then launched for another huge six in an over that cost 20.
Malik was having equal fun, taking only 31 balls to reach 57 which included four boundaries and two sixes. He was finally out, caught by Tillekeratane Dilshan off the bowling of Malinga.
A quick-fire 17 off nine balls from master-blaster Shahid Afridi helped take the score close to the 200 mark in what was the 10th time in the tournament that teams had passed the 160 mark, a figure reached only twice elsewhere.