Kusal Perera powers Sri Lanka to victory

Sachithra Senanayake (3-27) ran through the middle order to dismiss Pakistan.

Written by Associated Press | Dubai | Published: December 15, 2013 1:27 am

Opening batsman Kusal Perera hit a career-best 84 off 59 balls and protected Sri Lanka’s No. 1 ranking with a series-levelling 24-run victory over Pakistan in the second and final Twenty20 international on Friday.

Perera smashed five fours and four sixes as Sri Lanka posted 211-3 — the highest ever conceded by Pakistan in the shortest format of the game.

Pakistan opener Sharjeel Khan hit a brisk 50 off 25 balls and Sohail Tanvir resisted with a late 41 but off spinner Sachithra Senanayake (3-27) ran through the middle order to dismiss Pakistan for 187 in 19.2 overs.

Perera set the tone for a big total when he put on a century opening stand with Tillakaratne Dilshan (48) off 72 balls before veteran Kumar Sangakkara’s 44 off 21 balls took the game away from the hosts.

Pakistan won the first match by three wickets on Wednesday but their dreams of dislodging Sri Lanka from the No. 1 spot were dashed when they lost four wickets for two runs in the middle of the run-chase. “We are over the moon as we keep our No. 1 ranking,’’ Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal said.

Debutant spinner Seekkuge Prasanna (2-45) and Senanayake did the damage in successive overs as Pakistan crashed from 83-3 to 85-7. Legspinner Prasanna ignited the collapse when he clean bowled the left-hander Khan around his legs after being hit for two successive sixes and then Umar Akmal (0) could not read the googly and was bowled for zero.

Off spinner Senanayake then had the wickets of Umar Amin and Bilawal Bhatti off successive deliveries before Shahid Afridi (28) hit two fours and two sixes but skied a catch and was brilliantly caught by Sangakkara.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 211/3 (K Perera 84,T Dilshan 48,K Sangakkara 44 not out; Ajmal 2/25) bt Pakistan 184 all out (S Khan 50,S Tanvir 41,Senanayake 3/27,Kulasekara 2/23).

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