The final of the Asia Cup tomorrow, Pakistan-Sri Lanka will face each other. The two teams met in the last match of the Super Four today before the final. The match can be called a dress rehearsal for the final. By winning that exercise, Sri Lanka gave a threat to Pakistan – you will not be able to win the title so easily!
The match was an opportunity for the two finalists to test different combinations. Pakistan’s test was not very useful in such a match. After losing the toss and batting, Pakistan were bowled out for 121 runs in 19.1 overs. In reply, Sri Lanka won the match by 5 wickets with 18 balls in hand.
Pakistan rested Shadab Khan who had done well in the previous match. Usman Qadir played in his place. But it did not make Pakistan’s batting lineup look longer. Captain Babar Azam wanted to take this challenge. Losing the toss, he had to face another challenge. Pakistan won two consecutive Super Four matches by chasing runs. As Sri Lanka won the toss and took the fielding yesterday, it was also a test whether they could win by batting first.
The Test against Sri Lanka did not start well tomorrow. Batting first, Pakistan’s batting fell in front of the Lankan bowling. Babar was Pakistan’s highest run scorer with 30 runs off 29 balls. Apart from Mohammad Newaz who scored 26 runs off 18 balls, no one could leave a strike rate of 110.
Pakistan’s bowlers were showing signs of fighting even with this run. Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf took wickets in their first overs. First Kushal Mendis, then Danuska Gunatilka out. Then Dhananjaya de Silva, Vanuka Rajapakse and captain Dasun Shanaka were out. However, the openers Pathum Nishanka and Hasaranga took the team to the port of victory without allowing any more wickets to fall.
Nishanka was unbeaten on 55 off 48 balls with 5 fours and a six. And Hasaranga scored 10 runs unbeaten in two fours playing 3 balls. Pakistan pacers Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf took two wickets each.
Sri Lanka also wanted to test the strength of the bench before the final. That is why pacer Pramod Madushan was given T20 cap. Spinner Mahesh Tikshena bowled yesterday in the death over. Irregular bowler Dhananjaya bowled 4 overs and took 1 wicket for just 18 runs. Hasaranga de Silva, the main spinner of the Lankans, was consistent as usual with 3 wickets.
Anointed Madushan gave the first blow of the Pakistan innings. After a slow start, Mohammad Rizwan took a catch with a cross bat in an attempt to score some quick runs in the anointed pacer’s over. Pakistan’s vice-captain got out without hitting a boundary in 14 balls. Runs were not coming fast even from Babar’s bat. However, two boundaries in the straight drive and cover drive were making the Pakistanis hopeful. Hope it will pay off later even if it takes time in the beginning. But Hasaranga did not let that happen. Babar bowled as he hit this leg spinner at a low release point on the leg side.
Iftekhar Ahmed and Asif Ali made the same mistake. Both of them were bowled in an unsuccessful attempt to pull the balls almost touching the ground. That too is the last two balls of Hasaranga’s spell. The Lankan spinner could have taken the opportunity to score a hat-trick with one more ball to spare. Khushdil Shah also took a catch while hitting off-spinner Dhananjay. Only Newaz remained. His innings took Pakistan to a hundred.