Colombo, 14 September 2023: Sri Lanka qualify for the final of the Asia Cup 2023 after successfully chasing 252 in the rain-impacted game against Pakistan. The game, going down to the wire, had plenty to offer from both the sides, however, it was Sri Lanka that took the win after the last ball was bowled.
Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first, in the rain-truncated game. Initially when the game began, it was deemed 45-over-a-side, however, a subsequent rain break reduced the game to 42 overs each innings.
Opener Fakhar Zaman was removed after scoring just four runs. Captain Babar Azam then joined Abdullah Shafique on the crease. Abdullah, who had not been in the playing XI announced the previous day, highlighted his impact with a half-century that set the foundation for his side. A 64-run-stand between the two right handers put Pakistan in a comfortable position.
Although Pakistan’s batting faltered after Babar was removed, Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed rose to the occasion. An explosive partnership between the two, which went for 108 runs on 78 balls, propelled the side to 252 by the end of the 42nd over.
Adjusted according to the DLS, Sri Lanka had to chase 252 in 42 overs. Even though opener Kusal Perera was run out after scoring just 17 runs, the side did not lose momentum and kept up the batting onslaught. A 100-run-stand between Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama steadied the chase.
A magnificent 91 from Mendis took the side to their comfort zone, and a fighting 49 not out by Charith Asalanka ensured that the side got over the line, despite the turbulent death overs bowling they faced against Shaheen Shah Afridi and Zaman Khan.
Requiring two on the last ball, the Dasun Shanaka-led side was able to run a couple on the last ball and qualified for the final.
Scores in brief:
Sri Lanka win by 2 wickets (DLS)
Pakistan: 252-7 in 42 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 86 not out, Abdullah Shafique 52; Matheesha Pathirana 3-65, Pramod Madushan 2-58)
Sri Lanka: 252-8 in 42 overs (Kusal Mendis 91, Charith Asalanka 49 not out; Iftikhar Ahmed 3-50, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-52)
Player of the match: Kusal Mendis (Sri Lanka)