Malinga, who had not played for Sri Lanka since November 2015, produced a match-winning display as he, along with paceman Nuwan Kulasekara combined to restrict UAE to 115 for nine and claim victory.
A 69-run stand from openers Dinesh Chandimal, who top-scored with a 39-ball half-century, and Tillakaratne Dilshan set the platform for Sri Lanka, before UAE’s bowling attack put forth a disciplined display to restrict them to 129 for eight.
— Sri Lanka Cricket (@OfficialSLC) February 25, 2016
But UAE got off to a torrid start with Malinga and Kulasekara picked up two wickets apiece in the opening four overs as their top four batsmen failed to reach double figures.
Despite Swapnil Patil’s 37, which included two sixes, wickets continued to tumble. Patil and captain Amjad Javed threatened with a 38-run stand late but once Malinga dismissed the former, Sri Lanka regained control as UAE fell short on 115 for nine.
Sri Lanka, who look to defend their ICC World Twenty20 title next month, will play hosts Bangladesh while UAE will look to bounce back against Pakistan.