File photo of Babar Azam© AFP
Kusal Mendis’ 91 and an unbeaten 49 by Charith Asalanka helped Sri Lanka eliminate Pakistan with a two-wicket win in a last-ball thriller of the Asia Cup 2023. With the win, Sri Lanka set up a final clash with India while Babar Azam and company were left heartbroken. Chasing a DLS revised target of 252 in the 42-overs-a-side contest in Colombo, Sri Lanka needed eight from the final over and achieved the target with Asalanka’s winning hit on the last ball.
Among the players who underperformed for Pakistan in the tournament was their star spinner Shadab Khan. The bowler started the tournament with a four-wicket haul against Nepal but failed to carry on the impressive performance in the following games.
Shadab remained wicketless in the next two games. Across three matches in the Super 4 stage, he could clinch only two wickets. His dip in form was one of the key factors that led to Pakistan’s poor performance in their last two Super 4 matches.
“Shadab is bowling very well but he is not taking any wicket. So that’s why you feel he is not bowling well. He is bowling well by unfortunately he is not taking any wickets. He is one of your best bowlers, Nawaz and Shadab”, said Pakistan skipper Babar.
Talking about Pakistan’s do-or-die match against Sri Lanka, left-handed Asalanka held his nerve despite Shaheen Shah Afridi’s two wickets in two balls in the penultimate over and the first four balls from Zaman Khan giving away just two runs and a wicket in the 42nd over.
Mendis set up victory with a 100-run third-wicket stand with Sadeera Samarawickrama, who made 48, but Asalanka took it on himself after their departure.
Earlier Mohammad Rizwan hit an unbeaten 86 to steer Pakistan to 252 for 7 after they elected to bat first in the rain delayed start to the match.
Sri Lanka’s bowlers took regular early wickets to check Pakistan’s scoring, but Rizwan hit back with his 12th ODI half-century and a 108-run stand with Iftikhar, who made 47.
(With AFP Inputs)
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