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Pakistan beat SL to win series 4-1

Associated Press
Nov 24, 2011 at 02:00am IST

Abu Dhabi: Captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal hit half-centuries after teammate Sohail Tanvir took four wickets on Wednesday to steer Pakistan to a three-wicket victory over Sri Lanka and a 4-1 win in the one-day series.

Misbah compiled a patient 66 while Akmal struck eight fours in an unbeaten 61 off 60 deliveries as Pakistan reached their victory target of 219-7 with 16 balls to spare at Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Wrist spinner Jeevan Mendis was Sri Lanka's best bowler with 3-36, while seamer Dilhara Fernando took 2-47.

Left-arm paceman Tanvir took 4-34 to restrict Sri Lanka to 218-9 off 50 overs. But it could have been worse, with veteran Kumar Sangakkara top-scoring with 78 and Angelo Mathews contributing 61 to help them recover from early peril at 46-4.

Pakistan beat SL to win series 4-1

Pakistan approached their chase of 219 cautiously as they beat SL by three wickets in the fifth ODI.

"The credit goes to every player of the team. I think the way they are all performing is wonderful," Misbah said. "Everybody wants to win, especially if they want to be at the top of the (ICC) rankings. Everybody has their goals and are performing well."

Tanvir was supported by offspinners Saeed Ajmal (1-26) and Mohammad Hafeez (1-29), who both enjoyed miserly 10-over spells.

Pakistan's pursuit of a modest target had a decent platform even though both openers were out after making starts.

Mohammad Hafeez (14) edged Dilhara Fernando to wicketkeeper Sangakkara, while Asad Shafiq (26) was trapped lbw by Angelo Mathews' medium pace to make it 51-2 in the 14th over.

Misbah and Younis Khan then shared a stand of 62 that put Pakistan in pole position. But when Mendis removed Younis and Shoaib Malik in successive deliveries, both lbw to googlies, Sri Lanka were back in it at 113-4.

Younus struck two fours in 34 off 48 balls.

But Misbah and Akmal quickly quelled the Sri Lankan comeback with a level-headed fifth wicket stand of 84. Misbah, dropped badly by Mendis at backward point off Mathews when he was 6, reached his 50 off 73 balls and Pakistan were cruising.

But the skipper couldn't finish the job as he top-edged a reverse sweep off Mendis to give Sri Lanka a late sniff of victory. Misbah struck five fours off 99 balls.

Fast bowlers Lasith Malinga and Fernando kept their side in it by removing Shahid Afridi (4) and Tanvir cheaply.

But Akmal, who won the man-of-the-match award, stayed positive until the end and cracked the winning boundary.

Earlier, Sri Lanka lost its way against the new ball after winning the toss and batting first. Tanvir made the initial breakthrough whenUpul Tharanga (3) nibbled tentatively outside off and nicked to wicketkeeper Akmal.

Umar Gul provided the key wicket of captain Tillakaratne Dilshan for 12, with Akmal again snapping up an edge behind. And it was 32-3 when Tanvir claimed Dinesh Chandimal (7) to a catch at second slip by Younus.

"It's been a tough for series for us. What went wrong is our batting didn't click throughout the series and that's I think why we lost the series," Dilshan said. "This is the worst series for myself after a long time. I didn't get runs that are important in the top order. I am disappointed as a batsman I didn't get any runs."

Sri Lanka slumped to 46-4 in the 11th over when yet another edge provided Junaid Khan with his first wicket. Chamara Silva, included in place of injured veteran Mahela Jayawardene, was caught at first slip by Misbah.

Sangakkara started the revival with some brilliant strokeplay, including three boundaries in one over from Tanvir, and found an able ally in Mathews.

The pair gradually rebuilt the innings and Sangakkara's fifty, off 55 balls, pushed Sri Lanka past three figures in the 23rd over.

Sangakkara also passed another landmark in his decorated career when he reached 68, going past Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf into 10th place on the top run-scorers in one-dayers.

Mathews followed his partner to 50, off 88 balls, and Sri Lanka were nicely placed at 164-4 in the 39th over. But once Sangakkara fell, driving Hafeez straight to Misbah at extra cover, the innings hit the rocks again.

Mendis (2) was stumped off Afridi and Mathews departed at 180-7, bowled behind his back by Ajmal. Thisara Perera (25 off 18 balls) dominated an eighth wicket stand of 34 off 39 balls with Seekkuge Prasanna to push Sri Lanka to some respectability.

Tanvir removed Perera and Lasith Malinga in the final over to boost his figures.

The victory came after Pakistan won 1-0 in the three-test series. The tour concludes Friday with a lone Twenty20 match.

(Full scorecard)

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