Babar Azam of Pakistan and Dasun Shanaka of Sri Lanka
Captains Babar Azam of Pakistan and Dasun Shanaka of Sri Lanka are excited to play the final of the DP World Asia Cup at the Dubai International Stadium on September 11, 2022. It marks the culmination of the six-team cricket showpiece in Asia that started on August 27. Image Credit: Gulf News

The DP World Asia Cup final is only hours away. Pakistan or Sri Lanka, who will win at the Dubai International Stadium? Predictions are not easy as the teams are evenly matched. The toss aside, the team that holds their nerves better will win. But that can be said of most T20 games.

Sri Lanka are on a roll, having won their last four games. Pakistan did lose to Sri Lanka in the previous fixture, but this is a new tie and the past win count for nothing except for Sri Lanka’s confidence. Pakistan will also take heart from the fact that they were without pace spearhead Naseem Shah and leg-spin maestro Shadab Khan on Friday. Both are expected to play today, giving the Pakistan attack more teeth.

So it’s a match-up of the fearless Sri Lankan batting against the fearsome Pakistan bowling. Whoever trumps will walk away with the Asia Cup.

Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana of Sri Lanka
Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana: The spin twins will play a decisive role in Sri Lanka’s performance against Pakistan in the Asia Cup final. Image Credit: Agencies

Both captains are excited for the final. Dasun Shanaka is eyeing Sri Lanka’s sixth title win, while Babar Azam wants to add to Pakistan’s two triumphs.

Azam said: “As a captain leading a side in a final, it is exciting. We are now just one step away from our goal of winning the trophy. Every captain and team dreams of winning the trophy. As a team, our goal is to perform well and win the tournament.”

For the Pakistan captain, one of the main takeaways from the tournament was how different players stepped up to win matches. That Azam said is key to building a side.

Naseem Shah Asia Cup
Naseem Shah is the Pakistan bowling spearhead, but the youngster has shown that he can also be a good pinchhitter down the order. Skipper Babar Azam will expect Shah to be at his best. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

“Looking back at this tournament, we have had some great matches and some tough contests. We have seen some great performances, and different players have shone and won Player of the Match awards, the Pakistan captain said.

“When building a team, it is great for us that different players have stood up when it counts and helped the team win matches. As captain, this is important for me, and it helps pave the path for future success for the team as well,” Azam added.

Sri Lanka want to win the tournament for their compatriots since the island nation is in the grip of an acute political and financial crisis. Over the past 10 days, Shanaka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa have stressed the need to give the people back home some cheer. So they have enough incentives to win the Asia Cup

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Captain Shanaka said: “As a team, we are very excited to play the final, and Pakistan is a very good team, all the matches have been nailbiters, and we are looking forward to the final.”

Sri Lanka are the hosts, and the crisis back home necessitated the relocation of the tournament to the UAE. The early loss to Afghanistan was so bad that Sri Lanka looked like making an early exit. Since then, they have gone from strength and are at the cusp of a title win.

“As a tournament looking back, this has been one of the best Asia Cups we have had, and we are looking forward to the final,” Shanaka added.