The R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo witnessed an enthralling cricket clash in the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4s stage when Pakistan squared off against Sri Lanka in a nail-biting encounter on Thursday (September 14). The match turned out to be a last-ball thriller and had fans at the edge of their seats, with Sri Lanka managing to clinch a close 2-wicket victory via the DLS method.
With the win, Sri Lanka secured a berth in the Asia Cup 2023 final, where they will meet India for the ultimate championship battle. On the other hand, Pakistan’s campaign in the continental event ended, and they were left in disbelief.
Asked to bat first, the Pakistani innings was anchored by a stellar performance from Abdullah Shafique (52) and Mohammad Rizwan (86). Iftikhar Ahmed also joined the run-fest with 47 runs off 40 balls, powering Pakistan to a challenging total of 252/7 in their allocated rain-reduced 42 overs. Sri Lanka’s Matheesha Pathirana shone with the ball, bagging three crucial wickets while conceding 65 runs in eight overs to put a check on Pakistan’s scoring.
Sri Lanka Innings
The Sri Lankan chase was led by Kusal Mendis, who showcased his class with a match-winning knock of 91 runs off 87 balls, featuring eight fours and one six. Charith Asalanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama made valuable contributions with 49 and 49 runs, respectively. Iftikhar emerged as the standout bowler for Pakistan, claiming three important wickets while conceding 50 runs in eight overs.
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Sri Lanka secure final berth by two wickets (DLS Method)
However, in a match that swung back and forth, Sri Lanka ultimately emerged victorious by two wickets, utilizing the DLS Method to their advantage. Mendis’ exceptional performance, both with the bat and in the field, earned him the ‘Player of the Match’ award.
Babar Azam reveals the reason behind last-ball loss
Reflecting on the heartbreaking loss, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam shed light on a few reasons that caused his team to miss out on sailing into the summit clash of Asia Cup 2023. The right-handed batter highlighted how his side lacked in fielding and bowling throughout the game. He even pointed out the Pakistan bowler’s inability to strike in the middle overs. Meanwhile, Babar lauded Sri Lanka for their sensational performance, admitting that his team was not up to the mark.
“In the end, we decided to bowl our best bowlers. That’s why I decided to bowl Shaheen the second last over and then we believed in Zaman Khan for the final over. SL played really well, they played better cricket than us, that’s why they won. We weren’t up to the mark with our bowling and fielding, that’s why we lost. (One major factor that could have been different) In the middle overs, we are not bowling well. That partnership (between Mendis and Samarawickrama) cost us. We are starting well, we are finishing well, but we are not taking wickets in the middle overs,” said Babar in the post-match presentation.