Sri Lanka won against Pakistan in a tense game that went down to the last ball, setting the stage for a highly anticipated final against India in the 2023 Asia Cup. This thrilling victory saw Sri Lanka chasing down a 252-run target, thanks to Charith Asalanka’s incredible composure and skill in the game’s final moments. The decisive match will unfold on Saturday, September 17, in Colombo.
The Climactic Moments
As the match progressed, it became increasingly clear that the responsibility of leading the home side to victory rested on Asalanka’s shoulders. Despite the immense pressure, he displayed remarkable patience and strategy during his stint at the crease. Pakistan seemed to have the upper hand during the final, requiring only to defend six runs with just two balls left, a situation brought about by Zaman Khan’s splendid performance. However, a twist in the tale occurred when Asalanka skillfully edged a boundary on the penultimate ball, leaving Sri Lanka needing just two runs from the final delivery. In a climax that left hearts racing, Asalanka kept his cool, playing a calculated shot towards the deep square leg, ensuring a remarkable victory for his team.
During the post-match ceremony, Asalanka shared insights into his strategy for that victorious last ball. He recounted his mindset at that critical juncture, focusing on hitting a gap and urging his teammate Pathirana to run hard. Praising the efforts of fellow batsmen Mendis and Sadeera, he acknowledged the significant contribution they made to the team’s triumphant innings.
Key Performances and Player Line-Up
From the onset, Sri Lanka showcased a promising start, with Mendis and Samarawickrama establishing a substantial 100-run partnership that set the tone for a dominating performance. Mendis delivered an exceptional inning with 91 runs, while Samarawickrama narrowly missed a half-century, falling to Iftikhar Ahmed’s bowling at 48.
On Pakistan’s end, the initial choice to bat first seemed justified, with Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed providing a sturdy foundation, the former scoring an unbeaten 86 and the latter contributing significantly, both with the bat and ball. Despite Iftikhar’s splendid three-wicket haul, his efforts were unfortunately overshadowed by Sri Lanka’s victorious run chase.
As the cricket world awaits the grand finale, here’s a look at the playing XI that participated in this nail-biting match:
- Pakistan: Mohammad Haris, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Abdullah Shafique, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan (vice-capt), Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim, Zaman Khan
- Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (capt), Dunith Wellalage, Mahesh Theekshana, Pramod Madushan, Matheesha Pathirana
As the teams prepare for the epic showdown on September 17, cricket enthusiasts worldwide are gearing up for what promises to be a thrilling climax to the Asia Cup 2023.