PAK vs SL Asia Cup Final: The resurgence of Sri Lankan Cricket is what we witnessed on Sunday at the Dubai International stadium when Sri Lanka lifted their sixth Asia Cup title by defeating mighty Pakistan by 23 runs. Rajapaksa’s 71 runs off 45 balls along with fiery bowling spells by Pramod Madushan & Wanindu Hasaranga guided Sri Lanka to a glorious triumph over the Pakistan clan.
PAK vs SL Asia Cup Final: Rajapaksa-Hasaranga’s heroics with the ball led Sri Lanka’s Recovery
The match unfolded with Sri Lanka winning the toss & opting to bat first. They got off to a poor start as their openers Pathum Nissabka (8) & Kusal Mendis (0) went back to the hut within 4 overs reducing Sri Lanka 23-2 in 3.2 overs. Gunathilaka then joined Dhanajaya on the crease & the duo aimed to surpass the powerplay overs without any loss of wickets. But Pakistani bowlers have some other plans in their mind with Rauf dismissing Gunathilaka for just 1 run, leaving Sri Lanka reeling at 36-3 after 5.2 overs.
Dhananjaya & Rajapaksa tried to revive Sri Lanka innings with Silva hitting some meaty shots. But it was Iftikhar who had the last laugh by dismissing Silva for 28 runs off 21 balls. Wickets were falling at regular intervals as the next batter, Dasun Shanaka too went back for just two runs. As a result, Sri Lanka was reduced to 58 for 5 in 8.5 overs.
Sri Lanka needed a stable stand to post a competitive score on board. Rajapaksa along with Hasaranga exactly did the same by stitching a crucial 58 run-stand for the fifth wicket. Wanindu Hasaranga showed his rare side by smashing regular sixes & fours & the duo guided Sri Lanka over the 100-run mark in the 13th over. However, their blooming stand was broken when Haris dismissed Hasaranga for 36 runs off 21 balls in the 14th over. Sri Lanka was at 117-6 after 15 overs.
Later, Rajapaksa joined hands with Chamika Karunaratne to stitch an unbeaten 54-run stand for the seventh wicket. The duo mixed caution with aggression & helped Sri Lanka to finish at 170 for six in 20 overs. Rajapaksa displayed his matured batting skill by scoring runs under pressure. He took the Pakistan bowlers for cleaners & amassed 71 runs off 45 balls with six fours & three sixes. Karunaratne too supported him at the other end by scoring 14 runs off 14 balls. Sri Lanka made a great recovery from 42-3 in the powerplay overs to 78 runs in the middle overs from 7-16 & then accelerated 50 runs in the death overs. For Pakistan, Haris Rauf starred with the ball by returning with three wickets for 29 runs.
Madushan-Hasaranga’s lethal bowling spell guided Sri Lanka to their sixth title
In reply, Pakistan got off to a disastrous start with Babar Azam (5) & Fakhar Zaman (0) getting back to the pavilion in 2 overs, reducing Pakistan to 22-2 in 3.3 overs. Mohammad Rizwan then joined hands with Iftikhar Ahmed & did the recovery work for Pakistan. Despite Sri Lanka’s tight bowling the duo tried to score runs at a brisk rate. The Sri Lanka bowlers kept their run rate under check by bowling on strict lines & lengths. The duo stitched a rewarding 71-run stand which took the momentum in Pakistan’s favor. But the moment Iftikhar Ahmed tried to open his wings & accelerate Pakistan’s innings, Madushan got his third wicket by removing Iftikhar for 32 runs off 31 balls in the 14th over, followed by Mohammad Nawaz (6 off 9 balls) in the 15th over, reducing Pakistan to 104-4.
Things changed completely in favor of Sri Lanka when Hasaranga came to bowl in the 16th over. The spinner did the trick by removing Mohammed Rizwan (55 off 49 balls), Asif Ali (0) & Khushdil Shah (2) within five balls to reduce Pakistan to 112-7 after 16.5 overs. There was a collapse for Pakistan as Shadab Khan (8), Haris Rauf (13), and Naseem Shah (4) too succumbed in front of Sri Lanka’s fiery bowling spell. As a result, Pakistan’s innings was wrapped up at 147 runs in the 20 overs, handing a 23 runs win to Sri Lanka.
With this win, Sri Lanka lifted their sixth Asia Cup title with pride. For Sri Lanka the best bowlers were Pramod Madushan (4-34), Wanindu Hasaranga (3-27) and Chamika Karunaratne (2-33).
PAK vs SL Asia Cup Final: Player of the Match
Bhanuka Rajapaksa was named the Player of the Match while Hasaranga was named player of the series.