Coming into the tournament, Sri Lanka was perhaps the side no one expected to even qualify for the finals. However, proving all odds wrong, the team from the island country not only made it to the final but also won the coveted trophy for the sixth time.
Pakistan won the toss and decided put the Lankans to bat first. Sri Lanka had a shaky start with both openers sent home cheaply. Apart from notable contributions Dhananjaya de Silva (28) and Wanindu Hasaranga (36), it was Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s unbeaten 71 off 45 deliveries that proved to be the difference between the two sides.
A power packed showing from Rajapaksa propelled the Sri Lankan total to 170 for the loss of six wickets. For Pakistan, it was pacer Haris Rauf who managed to pick three wickets, while Naseem Shah, Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed got one each.
In the second innings, with a target of 171 to win the match, Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan started well and went on to put up 55 runs before being dismissed. On the other end, captain Babar Azam’s poor form continued.
Apart from Iftikhar Ahmed (32) and Haris Rauf (13) no other batter managed to get past the single digits. In the end, Pakistan slumped to a defeat after being bowled out for 147 in their 20 overs handing Sri Lanka the victory by a margin of 23 runs.
The Lankans’ bowling attack that had come under fire was perhaps the reason behind this victory of epic proportions. Pramod Madushan nicked four wickets, while Hasaranga picked three and Chamika Karunaratne got two wickets to clinch the sixth Asia Cup title.