Sri Lanka 132-7 (Perera 32no) beat
Pakistan 95 (Malinga 2-12) by 37 runs
First Twenty20 International, Hambantota
Sri Lanka struck first in their two-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan by winning the opening game in Hambantota by 37 runs.
They needed a late burst of runs from Tissara Perera to haul themselves up to a modest score of 132 for seven but Pakistan crumbled in reply to be bowled out for just 95.
It was the lowest score in a Twenty20 International in Sri Lanka and the home side's defence of 132 was the lowest score they had scored in a winning match batting first.
On a day for bowlers, Sohail Tanvir returned three for 12 in an outstanding spell for Pakistan but his team was upstaged as four Sri Lankans took two wickets apiece.
After Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat, they found themselves in trouble as Tanvir's early spell accounted for Mahela Jayawardene (2), Tillakaratne Dilshan (5) and Kumar Sangakkara (19).
Sangakkara had torn into the returning Mohammad Sami early but after he chopped on to Tanvir, Sami returned and clean bowled Dinesh Chandimal for 10.
Angelo Mathews was then bowled by Saeed Ajmal for nine, held back until the 13th over, although Sri Lanka now began to fight back.
Lahiru Thirimanne marked his debut with 30 in 25 balls, Kaushal Lokuarachchi - also on debut - made 11 and Perera thumped 32 not out in 16 balls with two sixes to ensure the home side at least finished their innings strongly.
They carried that momentum into their bowling, Nuwan Kulasekara having both new Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez and debutant wicket-keeper Shakeel Ansar caught by Dilshan from the first two balls of the innings.
When Khalid Latif was caught by Sangakkara off Mathews for three, Pakistan were 12 for three and although Shoaib Malik (9) and Umar Akmal (12) did their best to piece the innings together along with opener Ahmed Shehzad (36 in 42 balls), the writing was on the wall.
Shehzad was bowled by Sachithra Senanayake and Akmal caught by Kulasekara off Lasith Malinga and they were the only two players to reach double figures.
By the time Pakistan stlumped to 70 for six when Shahid Afridi was caught by Lokuarachchi off Senanayake, Sri Lanka were closing in on a handsome win.
They completed it in the 18th over of Pakistan's miserable reply when Ajmal was caught by Sangakkara trying to cut Perera.
In the early stages of the game, Pakistan, none of whose players were involved in the Indian Premier League, looked sharp and hungry as they took the early initiative. By the end of the game, however, they looked very much like a team of players who hadn't played serious Twenty20 cricket for some months.
They have a chance to hit back in the second game on Sunday, 3rd June.
© Cricket World 2012