Spinner Wanindu Hasaranga led Sri Lanka’s bowling charge to land a comfortable five-wicket victory over Pakistan in their dress rehearsal for the Asia Cup final on Friday.
Both teams have already booked their place in Sunday’s title fight in the warm-up tournament for the Twenty20 World Cup in October-November.
Hasaranga returned 3-21 with his leg spin to help Pakistan with 121 in 19.1 overs after they chose to field first in Dubai.
Sri Lanka dropped to 29-3 in their pursuit before Pathum Nissanka (55 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24) delivered a key score of 51 as the island nation reached their target with three overs to spare.
Left-handed Rajapaksa fell after his 19-ball knock, but Nissanka held out and Hasaranga hit the winning runs as Sri Lanka recorded their fourth win in a row.
It was the Sri Lankan bowlers who started the domination of the team when debutante fast bowler Pramod Madushan struck in his first over.
He sent in-form Mohammad Rizwan, who is second to Virat Kohli in the tournament points tally, back to the pavilion for 14.
Chamika Karunaratne ended Fakhar Zaman’s stay on 13 and Pakistan slipped further when Hasaranga threw Azam.
Babar, who struggled in the tournament with scores of 10, 9, 14 and zero in his previous innings, started off with a lovely straight drive for four, but was unable to deliver a game-defining score.
Pakistan continued to lose wickets and Hasaranga ended his spell with two consecutive wickets to level out the Pakistani at bat, surviving just 19.1 overs despite a late 26 cameo from Mohammad Nawaz.
Spinner Maheesh Theekshana and Madushan each took two wickets.
Pakistani fast bowlers also picked three early wickets to put Sri Lanka on the back foot before Nissanka and left-handed Rajapaksa put the chase back on track.
Mohammad Hasnain gave the team a dream start when he knocked out Kusal Mendis for a first-ball duck on the second ball of the innings.
Fellow fast Haris Rauf took a wicket each in his first two overs to send Danushka Gunathilaka back, for nothing, and Dhananjaya de Silva, for nine.
Nissanka then went to work with Rajapaksa and despite losing his partner after a strong stance, brought in his seventh T20 fifty for Sri Lanka.
He was then joined by skipper Dasun Shanaka, who turned 31 on Friday and made 21 from 16 balls before leaving for Hasnain.
Pre-tournament favorites India, which lost two of their three Super Four matches, crashed after Afghanistan lost to Pakistan on Wednesday.