Pakistan take series lead in UAE

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Pakistan won the first T20 against Sri Lanka by three wickets in Dubai on Wednesday, with Shahid Afridi coming to the party with the bat, scoring 39 not out and reaching the target with five balls to spare.

Pakistan won the first T20 against Sri Lanka by three wickets in Dubai on Wednesday, with Shahid Afridi coming to the party with the bat, scoring 39 not out and reaching the target with five balls to spare.

Pakistan needed to chase 146 runs to win, after a half century from Angelo Mathews ensured a defendable score for the Sri Lankans as they made 145 for five. But despite taking regular wickets, the visitors were not able to avoid defeat.

Pakistan won the toss and chose to bowl first, with debutant seamer Usman Khan given only a single over that went for nine runs. Otherwise, the home bowlers did a good containment job.

Sri Lanka lost veteran opener Tillakaratne Dilshan early on, falling for just seven to Sohail Tanvir (caught by Ahmed Shehzad), who also took Mathews' wicket later in the innings.

Kusal Perera and Kumar Sangakkara got starts but were unable to kick on past the 20s, both removed by spinner Saeed Ajmal, while Dinesh Chandimal reached 22 before falling to Shahid Afridi, trapped LBW.

Mathews' 50 came off 34 balls, and included five fours and a six. He was caught by Sharjeel Khan in the final over. This left Lahiru Thirimanne's 23 not out and Thisara Perera's two runs to push the score past 140.

Pakistan's chase got off to a good start as Sharjeel Khan and Mohammad Hafeez put on 57 for the second wicket, after Ahmed Shehzad departed early to Sachithra Senanayake for four.

The skipper and his rookie partner pushed the score to 69 in the 11th over, before Sharjeel fell for 34 to Thisara Perera. There was then a bit of a wobble and Hafeez and Umar Akmal departed off successive balls.

Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Amin and Bilawal Bhatti all fell cheaply soon afterwards and Sri Lanka would have been hopeful of a win, but their target was not big enough as Afridi used just 20 balls for his 39, ending the match with a six.

Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Bilawal Bhatti, Sohail Tanvir, Saeed Ajmal, Usman Khan

Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis

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