Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Fatullah February 25, 2014

'We thought we were 25-30 runs short' - Mathews

ESPNcricinfo staff

'Malinga made the difference' - Mathews

Between innings during their opening match of the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka felt they had fallen short of a winning total against Pakistan. Lahiru Thirimanne had scored a century and added 161 with Kumar Sangakkara for the second wicket. With that in mind, Sri Lanka should have scored "at least 325", according to their captain Angelo Mathews.

"I actually think that we were 25-30 runs short, to be honest," Mathews said. "Especially with the start that [Kumar] Sangakkara and [Lahiru] Thirimanne got for us, we should have got at least 325, minimum. We lost our way in the middle, we kept losing wickets and we had to consolidate in the last few overs, to set 297 target. I actually thought, if we didn't lose wickets, we could have got 325-330 easily."

In the end, Sri Lanka's score of 296 proved enough to secure them a 12-run victory. But at one stage, they had looked out of it, with Pakistan needing 57 from the last eight overs with six wickets in hand. Mathews said that Sri Lanka's bowlers had had no answers to Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal during their 121-run fifth-wicket partnership.

"When Misbah and Umar Akmal were batting, they were batting brilliantly, and we just didn't have answers to them," Mathews said. "We just had to hang in there. We knew that if we take one wicket from there the game is going to open once again, so we did that and fortunately our bowlers did it once again, Lasith Malinga took that crucial wicket, and that turned the game for us."

Malinga ended up taking his sixth ODI five-wicket haul, and reached 250 wickets in the format. When asked what discussion captain and pace spearhead had before his final spell, Mathews said he usually left it to Malinga to make his own plans.

"When it comes to Lasith, he has always been our best bowler," Mathews said. "We always bank on him in pressure situations. He's been our best bowler for so many years, and we always throw the ball to him, and he knows exactly what he has to do. I was pretty comfortable with what he wanted and I always give him the option to do whatever he wants because he is very well experienced and he knows exactly what he's doing."