Sri Lanka lose again to end sorry tour

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Sri Lanka head home with just one win to show for their nine-match tour of the United Arab Emirates after Pakistan trumped them by five wickets in Friday's one-off Twenty20 International.

Sri Lanka head home with just one win to show for their nine-match tour of the United Arab Emirates after Pakistan trumped them by five wickets in Friday's one-off Twenty20 International at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Having lost the Test series one-nil and the five-game ODI affair four-zero, Tillakaratne Dilshan's men were desperate for some consolation in the shortest format of the international game. It was not to be.

Victorious at the toss of the coin, Dilshan saw to it that his side were off to a flying start as he and Upul Tharanga pummeled 30 runs across the first three overs of the match. With the precedent set, however, the follow-through was abysmal.

30 without loss suggested a score in excess of 160 in slowish conditions, but Pakistan's spinners and Man of the Match Aizaz Cheema begged to differ.

While Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal shackled in the run-rate, seamer Cheema cashed in on the pressure for figures of four for 30 – three of his victims in the final over of the innings.

Dinesh Chandimal held the frail Sri Lankan order together with a brisk knock of 56, but Dilshan's 28, Tharanga's 12 and Angelo Mathews' 14 had really promised better and the opposition's pursuit was never really in danger of falling short.

In reply, Pakistan were in relatively early trouble at 44 for three. Asad Shafiq, though, displayed a cool, calm and collected approach en route to a steadying vigil of 33 which laid the ideal platform for Misbah-ul-Haq.

Misbah, with Shahid Afridi's typically cavalier showing of 22 from 15 balls along for the ride, carried his side to victory with three balls to spare in the quintessential example of a captain's knock. The right-hander deployed, no frills, no fuss, just good value cricket for his 48 not out to ensure that an oft-brash batting order did not lose its collective head in the face of impending victory.

Pakistan now head to Bangladesh for a one-off T20I, three ODIs and two Tests, while Sri Lanka must promptly pick up their pieces in preparation of their tour of South Africa.

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