The finalists for Asia Cup 2023 are finally known. The big game on Sunday will witness Sri Lanka take on India at Colombo. India has won the title 7 times, while Sri Lanka has won it on 6 occasions. The home side is also the defending champions after winning it in 2022 against Pakistan. If India wins on Sunday, it will be their 8th title and 2nd under Rohit Sharma.
Babar Azam, the Pakistan skipper, was left dejected as his side crashed out of Asia Cup 2023. The game against Sri Lanka on Thursday was a virtual semi-final contest. Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first in what was a 45-over contest initially. Further rain delays meant that the game was turned into a 42-over-per-side game.
Dejected Pakistan skipper has his say after the loss –
Sri Lanka won the last-ball thriller after Charith Asalanka hit the 2 runs needed off the last ball. This sent the crowd into raptures, while Pakistani players headed out of the tournament dejected.
Babar, speaking at the end of the game, said, “In the end, we decided to bowl our best bowlers. That's why I decided to bowl Shaheen and then we believed in Zaman Khan for the final over. SL played really well, they played better cricket than us, that's why they won.”
The Pakistani pace attack had a new look to it after the injuries to Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf. 22-year-old, Zaman Khan got his 1st ODI cap while Mohammad Wasim junior came in for Haris Rauf. Despite the best efforts of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Zaman Khan the Pakistani team couldn’t prevent the loss.
The Pakistani skipper Babar Azam further said, “We weren't up to the mark with our bowling and fielding, that's why we lost. In the middle overs, we are not bowling well. That partnership (between Mendis and Samarawickrama) cost us. We are starting well, we are finishing well, but we are not taking wickets in the middle."
Chasing 252 to win, Sri Lanka’s chase was spearheaded by Kusal Mendis who scored 91. Sadeera Samarawickrama scored 48, while Charith Asalanka was not out on 49. The left-handed batter hit 3 fours and a crucial six in his knock.
Earlier Pakistan batted first and scored 252 from their 42 overs. Mohammad Rizwan led the batting charge with 86 runs with the bat. Abdullah Shafique scored 52 runs after he was drafted in for Imam Ul Haq. Iftikhar Ahmed then scored 47 runs in quick time to help Pakistan reach a formidable score.