Sri Lanka claimed a brutally efficient five-wicket victory over Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2014 final in Dhaka on Saturday, winning the tournament for the first time since 2008.
Going into the final with a perfect record throughout the competition, a five-wicket haul from Lasith Malinga and a century from Lahiru Thirimanne guided Sri Lanka to glory.
Setting a target of 261 for victory, the Sri Lankan side displayed the depth they have in their batting, with Kusal Perera and Mahela Jayawardene also contributing significant scores.
Despite losing their form batsman Kumar Sangakkara for a first-ball duck, Sri Lanka gathered runs steadily winning the game with 22 balls to spare.
|Sharjeel Khan||c T Perera||b Malinga||8||6|
|Ahmed Shehzad||c Sangakkara||b Malinga||5||7|
|Mohammad Hafeez||c Sangakkara||b Malinga||3||13|
|Misbah-ul-Haq||c K Perera||b Malinga||65||98|
|Umar Akmal||c Priyanjan||b Malinga||59||42|
|Total||for 5||260||(50.0 ovs)|
|Sri Lanka Innings|
|K Perera||st Akmal||b Ajmal||42||37|
|Jayawardene||c S Khan||b Talha||75||93|
|Priyanjan||c Akmal||b J Khan||13||18|
|Extras||5w 1nb 1b 1lb||8|
|Total||for 5||261||(46.2 ovs)|
A pre-match surprise saw the tournament's joint-top wicket-taker, Ajantha Mendis, left out of the Sri Lankan side.
Malinga returned after being rested for the last match, with seam bowler Suranga Lakmal retaining his place.
Sri Lanka don't seem to play Mendis v Pak. Should he have played the Asia Cup final? Vote here http://t.co/lPRL7LoUkn— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) March 8, 2014
There were two changes for Pakistan. Opener Sharjeel Khan replaced Sohaib Maqsood, while left-arm seamer Junaid Khan came in for left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman.
Pakistan won the toss and Misbah-ul-Haq opted to bat first. After five overs they had already lost Khan, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez, with Malinga claiming all three wickets.
However, a stand of 122 from Misbah and Fawad Alam steadied the ship.
Fawad went on to score a magnificent century. Steady to start with, the 28-year-old upped the firepower in the last 10 overs to guide Pakistan to a respectable score.
Remarkably, the last nine overs of Pakistan's innings included only four dot balls.
Despite Pakistan's rally, Sri Lanka would still have been confident of chasing down the score they had been set.
A solid start saw Perera and Thirimanne put on 56 for the first wicket.
Until the final, Jayawardene had only scored 36 runs in the whole tournament.
However, always the one for the big occasion, he and Thirimanne put on 156 runs together and put Sri Lanka in pole position.
Skipper Angelo Mathews fittingly scored the winning runs which saw Sri Lanka deservedly claim victory.
They have been the most consistent team throughout the tournament and their all-round quality shined through in this final.