Sri Lanka reached their 11th Men’s ODI Asia Cup final when they sneaked through to a last-ball win by 2 wickets (D/L) over Pakistan in their last Super Four encounter of the Asia Cup 2023 played on Thursday evening at R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.
Charith Asalanka held his nerve to score a match-winning, unbeaten 49* to seal the game in the last ball of the match, well past 1:00am in front of a near-packed stadium to book their place in the final against India.
Earlier, Pakistan having opted to bat first lost Fakhar Zaman in the 5th over courtesy off a great in-swinging yorker by Pramod Madushan.
Dunith Wellalage, Sri Lanka new-found star, got the prized scalp of Babar Azam, stumped cleverly by Kusal Mendis behind the stumps.
Abdullah Shafique, who made a return to the playing XI at the expense of Imam-Ul-Haq, batted with great authority to notch up a fine 52 off 69 balls.
Pakistan at one stage were 100 for 2, but Matheesha Pathirana got two crucial wickets – Shafique and Mohammad Harris, whilst Maheesh Theekshana castled Mohammad Nawaz as Sri Lanka put Pakistan in deep trouble at 130 for 5 in the 28th over when rain intervened.
Pakistan set the tone after the rain interruption as they accumulated 102 runs for the loss of 2 wickets in the last 10 overs. Mohammad Rizwan, who was given a life at 11 by Mendis behind the stumps, brought the full repertoire of strokes to add a strong 108-run stand for the 6th wicket with Ifthikar Ahmed, who made a quick-fire 47 off 40 deliveries.Sri Lanka’s run chase of 252 began in great fashion as Kusal Perera, who made a return to ODI cricket after 2 years, scored a blistering 17 off just 8 balls with 4 fours to prove his worth as an opening batter. However, against the run of play, he was run out, whilst looking for a quick single.
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Pathum Nissanka made 29 off 44 balls as he did not convert his start into a big one. The worrying factor with Nissanka’s innings was the number of dot balls (28) he consumed. Nissanka fell when the score was 77 as Mendis was joined by Samarawickrama.
Mendis and Samarawickrama added a superb 100-run stand in 98 balls to steer the Lankan chase. They ran between the wickets well and found gaps at will. Samarawickrama got stumped, just like two nights ago, failing to reach the fifty as part-time spinner Ifthikar Ahmed got his first wicket of out three scalps late in the night.
Mendis’ brilliant 91 off 87 balls had 8 fours and 1 six – his third fifty in the tournament. However, the most concerning part is that he has gone past the 50-run mark in 27 occasions in ODIs but has converted those into centuries only twice. Against the run of play, Mendis was snapped brilliantly by Mohammad Harris off Ifthikar.
Dasun Shanaka, promoted to number six ahead of Dhananjaya De Silva, holed out to deep long-on to become Ifthikar’s 3rd victim.
In the penultimate over, with 9 runs to get off 8 balls, Dhananjaya De Silva and Dunith Wellalage fell in consecutive balls to make it 8 runs in the final over to get for Sri Lanka off debutant Zaman Khan.
The game began at 5.15pm local time as a 45-over game and due to the one rain interruption, the game was then adjusted to a 42-over affair.
Out of the 16 Asia Cups played so far, Sri Lanka has now qualified for 12 finals including last year’s T20 Asia Cup, whilst India has only reached the final in 10 occasions.
|Abdullah Shafique||c Pramod Madushan b Matheesha Pathirana||52||69||3||2||75.36|
|Fakhar Zaman||b Pramod Madushan||4||11||0||0||36.36|
|Babar Azam||st Kusal Mendis b Dunith Wellalage||29||35||3||0||82.86|
|Mohammad Rizwan||not out||86||73||6||2||117.81|
|Mohammad Haris||c & b Matheesha Pathirana||3||9||0||0||33.33|
|Mohammad Nawaz||b Mahesh Theekshana||12||12||2||0||100.00|
|Iftikhar Ahmed||c Dasun Shanaka b Matheesha Pathirana||47||40||4||2||117.50|
|Shadab Khan||c Kusal Mendis b Pramod Madushan||3||3||0||0||100.00|
|Shaheen Shah Afridi||not out||1||1||0||0||100.00|
|Extras||15 (b 0 , lb 1 , nb 1, w 13, pen 0)|
|Total||252/7 (42 Overs, RR: 6)|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||6||0||28||0||4.67|
|Pathum Nissanka||c & b Shadab Khan||29||44||4||0||65.91|
|Kusal Perera||run out (Shadab Khan)||17||8||4||0||212.50|
|Kusal Mendis||c Mohammad Haris b Iftikhar Ahmed||91||87||8||1||104.60|
|Sadeera Samarawickrama||st Mohammad Rizwan b Iftikhar Ahmed||48||51||4||0||94.12|
|Charith Asalanka||not out||49||47||3||1||104.26|
|Dasun Shanaka||c Mohammad Nawaz b Iftikhar Ahmed||2||4||0||0||50.00|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||c Mohammad Wasim Jnr b Shaheen Shah Afridi||5||7||0||0||71.43|
|Dunith Wellalage||c Mohammad Rizwan b Shaheen Shah Afridi||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Pramod Madushan||run out (Zaman Khan)||1||3||0||0||33.33|
|Matheesha Pathirana||not out||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Extras||10 (b 1 , lb 4 , nb 0, w 5, pen 0)|
|Total||252/8 (42 Overs, RR: 6)|
|Shaheen Shah Afridi||9||0||52||2||5.78|
|Mohammad Wasim Jnr||3||0||25||0||8.33|