File photo of Babar Azam© AFP
Kusal Mendis’ 91 and an unbeaten 49 from Charith Asalanka helped Sri Lanka eliminate Pakistan with a two-wicket win in a last-ball thriller of the 2023 Asia Cup. With the win, Sri Lanka set up a final clash with India, while Babar Azam and company were left heartbroken. Chasing a revised DLS target of 252 in the 42-overs-a-side match in Colombo, Sri Lanka needed eight from the final over and reached the target with Asalanka’s winning hit on the last ball.
Among the players who underperformed for Pakistan during the tournament was their star spinner Shadab Khan. The bowler started the tournament with a four-wicket haul against Nepal but failed to continue the impressive performance in the following matches.
Shadab remained wicketless in the next two matches. Over three matches in the Super 4 stage, he could only manage two wickets. His decline in form was one of the main factors leading to Pakistan’s poor performances in their last two Super 4 matches.
“Shadab bowls very well, but he doesn’t take wickets. That’s why you feel he’s not bowling well. He bowls well, but unfortunately he doesn’t take wickets. He’s one of your best bowlers, Nawaz and Shadab.” , said Pakistan skipper Babar.
Talking about Pakistan’s do-or-die match against Sri Lanka, the left-handed Asalanka held his nerve despite Shaheen Shah Afridi’s two wickets in two balls in the penultimate over and Zaman Khan’s first four balls getting just two runs and gave away a wicket. the 42nd passed.
Mendis secured the victory with a 100-run third-wicket stand with Sadeera Samarawickrama, who made 48, but Asalanka took charge after their departure.
Earlier, Mohammad Rizwan hit an unbeaten 86 to steer Pakistan to 252 for 7 after they opted to bat first in the delayed start to the match due to rain.
Sri Lanka’s bowlers regularly took early wickets to check Pakistan’s score 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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