A brilliant half-century from BhanukaRajapaksa and fiery spells from spinner WaninduHasaranga and pacer PramodMadushan helped Sri Lanka lift its sixth Asia Cup title, defeating Pakistan by 24 runs in the final in Dubai on Sunday.
Sri Lanka will be extremely ecstatic with their performances. They pulled off a remarkable comeback from a poor position in powerplay while batting, with help of Rajapaksa (71*) and Hasaranga (36) to reach 170/6 in 20 overs. While bowling, it was spells of WaninduHasaranga (3/27) and PramodMadushan (4/34) that helped Lanka seal the victory by 24 runs, despite a threatening stand of 61-runs between Mohammad Rizwan (55) and Iftikhar Ahmed (32). Chasing 171, Pakistan got some free runs as pacer DilshanMadushanka gave away nine extras due to wides and no balls. However, the pacer made a comeback, giving only three more runs in his over.
Sri Lanka kept Pakistani willows silent for next two overs and struck gold with the wicket of star batter Babar Azam for 5. PramodMadushan took his wicket after the batter was caught by Madhushanka at short fine leg, with the latter making up for his expensive first over. Pakistan was 1/22.
Madushan dismissed left-hander FakharZaman for a golden duck, taking two wickets in two balls. After a terrible first over, Sri Lanka were favourites again, having reduced Pakistan to 2/22.
From then on, Rizwan and Ifitkhar Ahmed tried to steady the ship for Pakistan. Sri Lanka however continued bowling brilliant lines and lengths, keeping their opponents largely on backfoot. Men in Green could score only 15 in 15 balls after Madushan’s double blow and at powerplay end in six overs, Pakistan was at 37/2, with Rizwan (16*) and Iftikhar (6*). The duo helped run come for Pakistan and 50-run mark was touched in 7.3 overs.
At the end of 10 overs, Pakistan was at 68/3, with Rizwan (36*) and Ifitkhar (17*) at the crease.
A 50-run stand between the duo was up in 44 balls. In the start of second half, Iftikhar seemed to turn things in his side’s favour with a four and six. WaninduHasaranga’s 12th over gave away 14 runs. Things seemed to swing in favour of Sri Lanka when Madushan bagged his third wicket of the match in 14th over. He ended the 71-run stand between Rizwan and Iftikhar after the latter was caught for 32 off 31 balls at backward square leg by KNA Bandara.
Mohammad Nawaz was next on the crease. At the end of 15 overs, Pakistan was at 101/3, with Rizwan (47*) and Nawaz (6*). A solid 15th over by Dhananjya de Silva built pressure on Pakistan by giving away just four runs. Pakistan needed 70 runs in final five overs.
Pressure piled up on Pakistan and evidence was Nawaz giving away his wicket for just four runs to ChamikaKarurathne while attempting to pull, but was caught by Madushan at backward deep square. Pakistan was reduced to 102/4.
Khushdil Shah was the next batter on the crease. Rizwan brought up his third half-century of the tournament with a pressure relieving six. However, Hasaranga’s final over changed the game in favour of Sri Lanka once again, as he picked up wickets of Rizwan (55), Asif Ali (0) and Khusdil (2) in a span of five balls. Pakistan sunk to 112/7 after this over.
Miseries did not seem to end for Pakistan as Theekshana dismissed Shadab Khan for just 8 runs after he was caught by Gunathilaka. Naseem Shah, Pakistan’s hero in match against Afghanistan was also sent packing by Madushan, who got his fourth wicket of the match after Karunarathne caught him at long-on.
Pakistan finished the match at 147 all out after HarisRauf was bowled by Karunaratne for 13. Sri Lanka clinched its sixth Asia Cup 2022 title.
Madushan (4/34) and Hasaranga (3/27) were the heroes for Sri Lanka with the ball. Theekshana and Karunaratne took one scalp each. An unbeaten half-century from BhanukaRajapaksa and solid knocks from Dhananjaya de Silva and WaninduHasaranga powered Sri Lanka to 170/6 in their 20 overs against Pakistan in the final of Asia Cup 2022 here in Dubai on Sunday. Pakistan will not be happy with how things turned out for them. Despite having SL reeling at 42/3 in the powerplay, they let Rajapaksa (71*), Hasaranga (36) and Silva (28) guide their side to a challenging total. HarisRauf though had an impressive outing with 3/29.
Fielding first, Pakistan was off to a great start as pacer Naseem Shah removed dangerous opener KusalMendis for a golden duck. A 142 kmph delivery came in, clipped the pads of the batter and dismantled his off stump. Sri Lanka was at 1/2.
With this, Dhananjaya de Silva joined PathumNissanka. Silva delighted the excited Sri Lankan crowd with some well-placed drives. Nissanka also seemed to have joined his partner in a counterattack with a cover drive of his own. But pacer HarisRauf put an end to this brief 21-run stand by dismissing Nissanka for just eight runs off 11 balls, who was trying to hit big over mid-on where Babar Azam took a good running catch.