Captain Shahid Afridi claimed his 300th ODI victim amongst figures of 4-33 as Pakistan defeated co-hosts Sri Lanka by 11 runs in their World Cup Group A match in Colombo.
Sri Lanka's run-chase was unhinged by the leg-spinner after their opponents had made 277-7, thanks to fluent half-centuries from Younus Khan (72) and Misbah-ul-Haq (83 not out).
Afridi bagged the key wickets of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara as he became only the 11th bowler to reach the landmark.
Sri Lanka never threatened victory after Sangakkara fell for 49 in the 38th over, the run-rate having risen as he and Chamara Silva had set about rebuilding the innings.
Earlier, Pakistan won the toss and raced to 65 in 10 overs after losing Ahmed Shehzad (13) early on.
Mohammed Hafeez and Kamran Akmal added 48 in 7.2 overs but a bizarre run-out ended Hafeez's innings prematurely at 32.
Kamran (39) could not put the mix-up behind him and threw away his wicket by charging down the pitch to spinner Rangana Herath only to be stumped by Sangakkara.
Younus Khan and Misbah kept the scoreboard ticking by rotating the strike and took Pakistan past 150 after 29 overs.
Younus reached his second successive half-century of the tournament off 56 balls and Misbah followed suit a few overs later - with the Test captain's half-century coming off 65 balls with just a solitary boundary.
The third-wicket stand accumulated 100 at a healthy rate, but Herath broke the partnership eight runs later by having Younus caught at short fine-leg.
Having reached 224 for four in 43 overs, Pakistan opted for the batting powerplay but Muralitharan gave away only two in his final two overs and sent back Umar Akmal for 10.
Sri Lanka's reply started brightly with Upul Tharanga and Dilshan putting on 76 runs in 14 overs for the first wicket.
Hafeez got the breakthrough as Tharanga holed out to Afridi for 33, sparking a mini-collapse as Afridi bowled Dilshan (41) before Shoaib Akhtar castled new batsman Mahela Jayawardene.
Afridi then had Thilan Samaraweera stumped by Kamran Akmal for one to leave the hosts 96-4 and captain Sangakkara assessing his options.
Having been joined by Silva, the pair were in no rush to chase hard as Afridi and Abdur Rehman put the brakes on.
It took them 16 overs to compile 73 in the middle of the innings, but Sangakkara had just begun to accelerate when he was caught on the boundary by Ahmed Shahzad one short of a half century.
The onus was now on Silva to shepherd the tail towards 277 and although he added 40 for the sixth wicket with Angelo Mathews the run-rate was still more than 10 an over.
Mathews (18) holed out to to Shehzad, again off Afridi, in the 44th over and after Shoaib removed Thisara, Perera Silva was stumped by Akmal off Rehman for 57 with 45 still needed from the final four overs.
Nuwan Kulasekara blasted 24 in a 14-ball cameo, but they required 18 from the last over and he was caught on the fence by Umar Akmal off the bowling of Umar Gul to seal victory for Pakistan.