DUBAI: A horror start to their run chase and laborious batting in the middle overs consigned Pakistan to a 23-run defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the final of the Asia Cup 2022 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
The Green Shirts had a brilliant start to their evening, having won the all-important toss and deciding to field first — a trick that had worked for them every single time in the tournament until tonight.
Their pace attack featuring Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf gave them a dream start and at one point it had seemed if Sri Lanka would even be able to bat out their full overs. However, after the first 10 overs, Pakistan captain Babar Azam surprisingly opted for a defensive approach, allowing Sri Lanka to make an almost miraculous recovery to finish with 170-6.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s 71 off 45 balls helped Sri Lanka set a 171-run target for Pakistan in the final game of the Asia Cup 2022.
Sri Lanka were asked to bat first by Babar Azam after the latter won the toss at the start of the match.
Some fiery bowling by the Pakistani bowlers had left Sri Lanka 62/5 by the end of nine overs and it seemed as if Pakistan would end up getting a below-par target.
However, a 58-run partnership between Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva and Rajapaksa provided a perfect launch pad for Sri Lanka to set a competitive target. The partnership ended after Hasaranga de Silva, who was the aggressor, was removed by Haris Rauf in the 15th over.
By the time the sixth wicket fell, Rajapaksa was well set to launch a counterattack on the Pakistani bowlers. His 54-run partnership with Chamika Karunaratne pushed Sri Lanka to 170/6 at the end of their 20 overs.
For Pakistan, Haris Rauf was the highest wicket-taker for the Men in Green with three wickets. While Naseem Shah, Shadab Khan, and Iftikhar Ahmed ended up with one wicket each.