Hambantota, Jun 3: An impressive all-rounder performance helped Sri Lanka to a comfortable 37-run victory over sub continental rivals Pakistan in their opening Twenty20 international on Friday in Hambantota.
[Scorecard: 1st T20: Sri Lanka vs Pakistan]
Pakistan were reduced to 95 all-out, registering their lowest total against Sri Lanka. The hosts put up a decent total of 132/7.
Lankan pace trio Nuwan Kulasekera, Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga and debutant off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake claimed two wickets apiece. Man-of-the-match Thisara Perera scored an unbeaten crucial knock of 32.
The visitors struggled to chase early on after losing two wickets off the first two balls of the innings, Kulasekara struck to remove skipper Mohammad Hafeez and debutant Shakeel Ansar.
Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad top-scored for Pakistan (36) while Umar Akmal (12) was the only other batsman to score double figures and the Sri Lanka bowlers conceded 19 extras.
Electing to bat first, Sri Lanka were rocked early on after their top-order was dismissed by pacer Pakistan pacer Sohail Tanvir. The hosts lost key batsmen Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and were left struggling at 31/3.
Tanvir bagged his best Twenty20 international performance with 3/12 in four overs while off-spinner Saeed Ajmal claimed two wickets for 20.
Sri lanka were powered later on when Perera smashed two sixes and two fours in his quick 16-ball knock to help his side score 43 runs off the final 22 balls. In his T20 debut, Lahiru Thirimanne scored a steady 25-ball 30.
Though the hosts struggled against Tanvir, crucial knocks in the middle provided back up along with a brilliant bowling and fielding performance helped them seal a comfortable victory.
Pakistan's top guns, skipper Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi added just 22 runs between them.
The second and final Twenty20 match will be played on Sunday.