Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan out of the race for the final after losing to Sri Lanka in final over
Sri Lanka advanced to the Asia Cup 2023 final after beating Pakistan by two wickets in the Super Four match on Thursday, September 14 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. It means that Dasun Shanaka’s men will now face Rohit Sharma’s India in the final to be played on Sunday, September 17 at the same venue in Colombo.
Asia Cup 2023 points table
Pakistan, who were grappling with concerns surrounding the fitness and form of players, failed to qualify for the final. They started the Super Four with a thumping seven-wicket win over Bangladesh at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore before losing to India and Sri Lanka.
After facing a heavy 228-run defeat at the hands of India, Pakistan put up a much better performance against Sri Lanka, although it was not enough for them to win.
Starting with, Pakistan made as many as five changes to their playing XI. Things got worse as Imam-ul Haq and Saud Shakeel missed out due to back spasm and illness respectively. Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique got chances instead. Zaman Khan also made his ODI debut after Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah sustained injuries.
Mohammad Rizwan scored an unbeaten 86
Fakhar, who was initially left out of the playing XI, failed to make use of the second chance after Pramod Madushan dismissed him. However, Shafique went on to score 52 runs off 69 balls with three fours and two sixes.
Babar Azam looked good for his 29 after which Dunith Wellalage dismissed him stumped. With Pakistan reduced to 130 for five in 27.4 overs, the pressure was on them.
From there on, Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed put on 108 runs for the sixth wicket to put Pakistan in a commanding position. Rizwan scored 86 runs off 73 balls with six fours and two sixes as the Men in Green finished with 252 for seven in a rain-curtailed 42-over match.
Iftikhar scored 47 off 40 to lend Rizwan support. Matheesha Pathirana picked up three wickets, but leaked 65 runs in eight overs.
Kusal Mendis stars
Kusal Mendis and Saddera Samarawickrama put on 100 runs for the third wicket. Courtesy: AP
Kusal Perera smashed four fours to start his knock before a brilliant direct hit from Shadab Khan accounted for his wicket. Thereafter, Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka put on 57 runs for the second wicket to inject impetus into the Sri Lankan run-chase.
Shadab separated the duo after dismissing Nissanka, who scored 29 runs off 44 balls. Sadeera Samarawickrama, who has been among the standout batters of the tournament, stitched together a partnership of 100 runs with Mendis.
Samarawickrama scored 48 off 51 before Iftikhar accounted for his wicket. Mendis was looking good for his third ODI hundred before Iftikhar sent him packing. Mendis scored 91 runs off 87 balls with eight fours and one six.
With the match going down to the wire, Dasun Shanaka tried to go downtown off Iftikhar, but holed out to Mohammad Nawaz. With 20 runs needed off three balls, the onus was Charith Asalanka and the very experienced Dhananjaya de Silva to take Sri Lanka past the finish line.
Shaheen picked up two wickets and gave away only four runs in the penultimate over to keep Pakistan in the hunt. With eight runs needed off six balls, Zaman Khan tried his heart out.
The target came down to six runs off two balls before Charith Asalanka edged one through fine leg for a four. Thereafter, he clipped one off the leg side to take Sri Lanka through to victory.