Sri Lanka to play Pakistan in the final on Sunday
Sri Lanka completed a remarkable comeback as they recovered from a crushing defeat in their Asia Cup 2022 opener to top the Super 4 stage. Dasun Shanka’s men hammered Pakistan by 5 wickets, successfully chasing 122 runs in their final Super match, which was also the dress rehearsal for the big final, India Today reported.
Sri Lanka will head to the final against Pakistan with winning momentum on their side. The much-anticipated battle for bragging rights in Asia will be played in Dubai on Sunday, September 11.
Sri Lanka rode on a well-calculated fifty from opener Pathum Nissanka as he played a rock solid knock after the Pakistan pacers rocked their top-order in the low-scoring affair in Dubai. Nissanka rode the early storm and finished with a 48-ball 55 as Sri Lanka chased down the total with 3 overs to spare and finish the Super 4 stage on top with 6 points. Sri Lanka lost in-form opener Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka early after Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf breathed fire with the new ball.
Haris Rauf sent back Dananjaya de Silva back inside the powerplay as Sri Lanka slipped to 27 for 3.
However, Nissanka and left-hand batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa stitched a 50-run stand for the 4th wicket to take Sri Lanka closer to the finish line. Bhanuka took on the Pakistan spinners as he hit a quickfire 24 off 19 balls to help swing the momentum in Sri Lanka’s favour.
Nissanka stayed unbeaten and made sure he allowed the likes of Dasun Shanaka and Wanindu Hasaranga played mini cameos and get the job done as early as the 17th over.
Earlier, Babar Azam top-scored for Pakistan but their captain’s struggles to bat with fluency in Asia Cup 2022 continued. Babar hit 30 but he consumed 29 balls without managing to keep the scoreboard moving at a brisk pace. All-rounder Mohammad Nawaz, who shone against India earlier in the week, chipped in with a quick 26 but it was not enough as Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana spun a web around Pakistan’s batting order, picking up 5 wickets between them. Mohammad Rizwan suffered a rare failure as he fell for 14 in the powerplay following which Fakhar Zaman struggled to get going.
Pakistan slipped from 91 for 5 to 85 for 7 as Hasaranga ran through the middle-order, picking up the wickets of Ifthikar Ahmed and Asif Ali in successive deliveries. It was the leg-spinner who got the big wicket of the day, castling Babar, who tried to break the shackles with an attempted sweep.
Brief scores: Pakistan 121 all out in 19.1 overs (Babar Azam 30, Mohammad Nawaz 26; Wanindu Hasaranga 3/21, Maheesh Theekshana 2/21) lost to Sri Lanka 124-5 in 17 overs (Pathum Nissanka 55 not out, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 24; Haris Rauf 2/19) by five wickets