Summary: Hasaranga, Rajapaksa help Sri Lanka win sixth Asia Cup
Sri Lanka captured their sixth Asia Cup by winning the fifth game in a row. In defeating Pakistan in the final, the Dasun Shanka-led team upended the trend of chasing to win matches as they restricted Pakistan to 147 all out after scoring 170/6.
Nine of the 13 games were won by teams batting second. The final too looked set to follow the pattern when Pakistan opted to bowl first and had the Sri Lankans on the mat at 58/5 before the completion of the ninth over.
But Bhanuka Rajapaksa (71 off 45 balls) and Wanindu Hasaranga (36 off 21) inspired a fightback, and Sri Lanka had a fighting total. When Pakistan’s chase began, Dilshan Madushanka bowled a nightmarish over with 8 wides and no-ball before he bowled the first legal delivery of the innings.
All that was put behind by Promod Madushan’s double strike, which rocked Pakistan in the powerplay. They never recovered and fell badly behind the asking rate, despite Mohammad Rizwan’s gritty 55. That was when leggie Hasaranga delivered a triple strike in the 17th over, and Pakistan’s chase was as good as over.
Madhushan came away with 4/34 and Hasaranga’s 3/27 came after his 36 with the bat.
Sri Lanka win Asia Cup 2022!
What a finish! Sri Lanka have won by 23 runs. It has been a stunning performance by them tonight.
Hasaranga’s triple strike sends Pakistan reeling
In the search for quick runs to bring down the mounting asking rate, Pakistan batters were forced to pursue the risky route. A route that bought about their downfall. Sri Lanka’s key bowler and leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga’s triple strike in the 17th over has taken the wind out of the Pakistan sails. Pakistan need 53 off 14 balls as they are 118/7 in 17.4 overs.
Brilliant bowling. Three wickets for Hasaranga in the 17th over. He got the big wickets of Rizwan, caught at the boundary and then bowled big hitter Asif Ali then got Khushdil on the second last ball of his over. Pakistan on 111-6 in 16h over. Sri Lankan fans have already started their celebrations in the stands.
Sri Lankan bowlers take command
Pakistan require 70 to win off 30 balls. That’s the equation in the final against Sri Lanka. Pakistan need one good over to whittle down the asking rate. In the search for one big over, Mohammad Nawaz fell, and Pakistan are 102/4 in 15.2 overs. The match is poised at an exciting juncture. It’s still anybody’s game.
Pakistan lost third wicket. Iftikhar caught at the boundary while trying to hit a six of Madushan who got his third wicket in the innings. Left-arm batsman Nawaz who helped Pakistan win against India has come to the crease. Pakistan needs 74 in 36 balls. Game is on and set to go to the wire.
Rizwan steadies Pakistan’s chase
Mohammad Rizwan has been the leading run-getter for Pakistan in the DP World Asia Cup. He came to Pakistan’s rescue in the final too, scoring an unbeaten 36 (34 balls) as they put behind them a horrid fourth over when Sri Lankan seamer Promod Madushan produced a double strike. Skipper Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman were dismissed in consecutive balls, but Rizwan and Iftikhar (17) Ahmed have steadied Pakistan to 68/2 in 10 overs as they chase Sri Lanka’s 190.
Opener Rizwan and Iftikhar slowly cruising towards the target refusing to throw away their wickets. Still require 103 runs in 10 overs which is quite achievable target with eight wickets in hands.
Pakistani batters Iftikhar and Rizwan now need to consolidate the innings but must keep the scoreboard ticking to achieve the target. They should not play dot balls as there is plenty of batting to come. Pakistan could only score 37/2 in the power play. Now the field will open making it more difficult to score.
Pakistan off to a nervy start
Nerves. Nerves. Nerves. Nobody epitomized it more than Sri Lankan seamer Dilshan Madushanka as he delivered 8 wides and a no-ball before bowling a legal delivery in Pakistan’s innings. But that was not enough to get Pakistan underway.
An unconvincing knock from skipper Babar Azam ended when he flicked a wide delivery to short square-leg. Fakhar Zaman scored a golden duck, chopping a Promod Madushan delivery on to his wicket, and Pakistan tottered at 22/2 in less than four overs.
At the end of the powerplay, Pakistan were 37/2, chasing Sri Lanka’s 170.
Pakistan under pressure. Two wickets down in two balls. First Skipper Babar Azam fails again, a flick on pacer Madhshan' ball on the pads lands in Madushanka's hands on the short leg. Good ploy to get the skipper's wicket. What a horrible Asia cup for Babar Azam. Left arm batter Fakhar Zaman who is also out of form casually plays a delivery going outside the off stump. Pakistan 22/2 in third over. Madshan on hat-trick.
Harrowing start by Sri Lankan pacer Madushanka who has given away nine runs without bowling even a single legal delivery. First no ball, and then four wide balls and one went for four as well. This is a new record. Pakistani batter Rizwan is all smiles.
Pakistan opening batters Mohammed Rizwan and Babaar Azam walked to the pitch to take on Sri Lankan bowling attack to score 171 runs in 20 overs to win the Asian Cup for the third time. Out of form Babar Azam needs to score runs for Pakistan today if he wants to win this match.
Midway report: Rajapaksa’s 71 gives Sri Lanka a fighting total
Bhanuka Rajapaksa reeks of aggression at the crease. But the left-hander played an innings marked by controlled aggression to score an unbeaten 45-ball 71 to lift Sri Lanka to 170/5 in 20 overs. A score that didn’t look possible after Pakistan pacers sliced open the Sri Lankan batting in the early part of the DP World Asia Cup final at the Dubai Cricket Stadium.
Rajapaksa reeled in his aggression and watched Wanindu Hasaranga (36 off 21 balls) take the attack to bowlers as the two added 58 in 36. After Hasaranga’s departure, Rajapaksa turned aggressor in the company of Chamika Karunaratne and stitched together 51 runs for the seventh wicket in quick time.
The result was a fighting total after Sri Lanka recovered from 58/5 before the completion of the ninth over. Much of the damage was wrought by the Pakistan pacers, who justified skipper Babar Azam’s decision to bowl. Haris Rauf came away with 3/29.
Pakistani bowlers could not control the second half of the match as Sri Lankan batters scored 105 runs in the last 10 overs. Rajapaksa turned the game around for Sri Lanka scoring 71 runs in 41 balls. Pakistan’s two dropped catches involving vice captain Shaddab Khan cost them big. Apart from Haris Rauf 29 for 3 in four overs, none of the other bowlers could put pressure on Sri Lankan batters who swung their arms freely in the second half of the match putting challenging target of 171 runs in 20 overs.
Rajapaksa lifts Sri Lankan hopes
Bhanuka Rajapaksa scored a half-century with a blend of caution and aggression to keep alive Sri Lankan hopes of posting a challenging total for Pakistan. After slumping to 58/5 in under nine overs, the left-hander reeled in his aggression, and was content to watch Wanindu Hasaranga turn up the heat. The two added 58 in 36 balls before Hasaranga was dismissed for a 21-ball 36. In the slog overs, Rajapaksa cut loose. Sri Lanka are 155/6 in 19 overs.
Hasaranga’s 36 gives Sri Lanka momentum
Wanindu Hasaranga turned out to be Sri Lanka’s saviour in the unlikely role of a batsman. He can certainly bat, as evident from the previous game. But today he put an accomplished batter like Bhanuka Rajapaksa 37 (28) in the shade as they strung together a sixth wicket stand of 58 in 36 ball. Hasaranga chanced his arm far too often and was dismissed for a 21-ball 36. But he had given Sri Lanka hopes of posting a challenging total. They are 120/6 in 16 overs
Golden arm man Harif Rauf strikes again and gets the breakthrough for Pakistan by breaking a dangerous partnerhsip. He got big hitter Hasaranga caught behind by Rizwan after he hit him with two back to back boundaries. A sigh of relief for Pakistani bowlers. Sri Lanka 116/6 in 15 overs. Pakistani bowlers are trying to keep the score under 150 in 20 overs.
Pakistan needs wicket as Sri Lankan batters Rajapaska (31 in 26 balls) and Hasaranga (25 in 13 balls) have consolidated the innings keeping a good run rate of over seven runs per over despite losing five quick wickets. Partnership of 41 runs in 25 balls. Sri Lanka is placed at comfortable score of 100/5 in 13 overs.
Sri Lanka in a tailspin
A mixture of fine pace bowling from Pakistan and poor shot selection from the batters have undermined Sri Lanka’s attempt to post a good total. After the three setbacks in the powerplay, Sri Lanka lost two wickets needlessly. Dhananjaya de Silva, who was batting beautifully, lost his head and patted back a catch to part-time bowler Iftikhar Ahmed. And skipper Dasun Shanaka fared with an ugly swipe against the leg-spin of Shadab Khan. Sri Lanka are 67/5 in 10 overs, and a good total seem to be out of their grasp.
Fifth wicket down, Shanaka bowled by leg spinner Shaddab Khan! Pakistan are in complete control of the match as their spinners keep taking wickets after a super spell by the fast bowlers. Sri Lanka 58/5 in 8.5 overs.
Another big wicket! De Silva is caught and bowled by part time spinner Iftikhar. Good move by skipper Babar Azam to bring him on and get De Silva out who was looking dangerous and was hitting the fast bowlers fearlessly. Sri Lanka 53/4 in 7.4 overs
Bowlers put Pakistan in control
Pakistan have seized the initiative in the final, grabbing three wickets in the powerplay. Opting to bowl, Naseem Shah struck with the third delivery of the game with a ball that swung past Kushal Mendis's defensive blade. Haris Rauf, who replaced an expensive Mohammad Hasnain, grabbed two wickets in each of his two overs, sending back the consistent Pathum Nissanka and Danushka Gunathilaka.
Dhananjaya de Silva ploughed a lone furrow for Sri Lanka, unleashing a couple of delectable drives through the covers. He looked in good touch and was unafraid to punish the bad deliveries. Sri Lanka's batting fortunes will depend on his performance. Sri Lanka are 42/3 in 6 overs
Haris Rauf strikes again! Beautiful express delivery which swung inside the left hander batter and went through the big gap between bat and pad. Danushka is back in the pavilion. Three wickets down in the power play. Sri Lanka are 40/3
Big wicket, Sri Lanka ace opener Nissanka is out while trying to accelerate the run rate. Superb running catch by skipper Babaar Azam. Pacer Haris Rauf, known as man with golden arm, struck on the second ball of his first over and got the big wicket of Sri Lanker opener. Sri Lanka 23/2 in 3.2 overs
Great atmosphere at the stadium
Pakistan and Sri Lanka flags flutter in every stand as spectators packed the Dubai International Stadium. Pakistani fans had an early chance to cheer when pacer Naseem Shah bent an express delivery past Kusal Mendis and rearranged his stumps with the third ball of the match. But soon, Dhananjaya de Silva brought the Sri Lankans to their feet with a cover drive and extra cover drive off Mohammad Hasnain. Sri Lanka are 23/1 in 3 overs
Pacer Naseem Shah was too fast for opener Kusal to handle as he completely misread the in swinging ball at a speed of 142kph and was clean bowled. Sri Lanka, 2/1 in first over.
Pakistan opened its bowling attack against Sri Lanka after putting them to bat with its newly crowned superstar pacer Naseem Abbas Shah. As expected Dubai Cricket Stadium, known as ring of fire, is full to capacity. Dubai Roads and Transport Authority has also earlier warned motorists of traffic jams on major roads around the stadium as the fans thronged to the stadium. Since Sunday is public holiday in the UAE, cafes and sports bars have also reported huge rush of fans gathered to watch the expected thriller on big screens.
The toss and the teams
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bowl. The toss has been so critical in the DP World Asia Cup that nine of the 12 games have been won by teams batting second.
The changes: For Pakistan, pacer Naseem Shah and leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who sat out the last game against Sri Lanka, return to the side in place of Hasan Ali and Usman Qadir. There are no changes in the Sri Lankan team.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), 2 Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, and Mohammad Hasnain.
Sri Lanka: Kusal Mendis (wicketkeeper), Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dasun Shanaka (captain), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Pramod Madushan, and Dilshan Madushanka
Preview: Brace for a close encounter in Dubai
In a few hours, Pakistan or Sri Lanka will clasp their hands around the Asia. Cup. The two teams have played excellent cricket over the past fortnight in the 15th edition and are worthy finalists. More importantly, their wins resulted from collective efforts as they found heroes in each game.
Mohammad Rizwan’s scoring has been a constant for Pakistan, while leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga and opener Pathum Nissanka kept Sri Lanka in the game. There were flashes of brilliance too. For Pakistan, it was Naseem Shah’s two sixes against Afghanistan and Mohammad Nawaz’s assault on Indian spinners. Sri Lanka’s opener Kusal Mendis wrenched the match away from India.
Sri Lanka won the Super 4 game against Pakistan. But this is a new game, a new start. Although the momentum is with Sri Lanka, it will be a close game.