What a game of cricket we had last night, a nail-biting finish where everyone was on edges of their seats. It was a do or die situation for Sri Lanka and Pakistan, eventually Sri Lanka won the close match by 2 wickets on the last ball of the match and qualified for the final of Asia Cup
The match started after a delay of almost three hours. As the covers were removed, the two captains walked to the centre for the toss. Yet again, Babar Azam won the toss and choose to bat in cloudy conditions. Each team had 42 overs to play after DLS was applied due to the late start. A tie due to rain washout would have been enough for Sri Lanka to see themselves in the final against India.
Pakistan had a slow start, Abdullah Shafique who was playing his first game in this tournament opened the innings with out-of-form Fakhar Zaman. Fakhar again failed to create any impact, he got out early only after scoring four runs. Abdullah scored a half-century. Babar got a start but couldn’t carry on, he lost his wicket for 29 runs. Mohammad Haris and Mohammad Nawaz didn’t trouble the scoreboard as they got out rather quickly. Rizwan was holding one end of the wicket. Iftikhar Ahmed who came to on number 7 was involved in a crucial partnership with Rizwan. They put on 108 runs for the sixth wicket. Iftikhar ended up with 47 runs under his belt and Rizwan scored an impressive 86 in a responsible innings. Pakistan ended their innings at 252 runs for fall of 7 wickets in their 42 overs. For the Islanders Pathirana took three wickets and 2 wickets were taken by Madushan.
After a short break of 20 minutes Sri Lankan batters came out with a clear mind of an attacking and positive approach. Sri Lanka were 2 down for 77 runs but their run rate was always on the mark. For the third wicket Kusal Mendis and Samarawickrama had a 100-run partnership. On this point everyone thought that Sri Lanka will complete the run chase easily. The Pakistani bowlers came back strong to bring Pakistan back in the contest, Pakistan took some quick wickets to slow the Sri Lankan run rate. When Mendis was dismissed for 91 runs Pakistani thought that they can win the match to qualify for the final.
In the last over Sri Lanka needed 8 runs with two wickets in hand. The debutant Zaman Khan was given the responsibility to bowl the last over. He bowled a brilliant over till Asalanka edged the second last for a four towards the third man position. Asalanka ended up not out on 49 runs.
Sri Lanka qualified after beating Pakistan for the final against India which will be played on Sunday.
Kusal Mendis was awarded man of the match for his superb batting effort.