Asia Cup: Sri Lanka clinch 6th title


Dubai : Brilliant half-century from Bhanuka Rajapaksa and fiery spells from spinner Wanindu Hasaranga and pacer Pramod Madushan helped Sri Lanka lift its sixth Asia Cup title, defeating Pakistan by 24 runs in the final in Dubai on Sunday.Sri Lanka will be extremely ecstatic with their performances. They pulled off a remarkable comeback from a poor position in powerplay while batting, with help of Rajapaksa (71*) and Hasaranga (36) to reach 170/6 in 20 overs.While bowling, it was spells of Wanindu Hasaranga (3/27) and Pramod Madushan (4/34) that helped Lanka seal the victory by 24 runs.Dasun Shanaka, Winning captain, said, ‘ I want to thank the crowd; they have been supporting us massively. Hopefully we made them proud today. In IPL 2021, Chennai won the match batting first and that is what was in my mind. These youngsters know the conditions really well. Wanindu made a huge impact after losing five wickets. Chamika and DDS batted really well too. The last ball six was the turning point. 170 was mentally the difference, as 160 always feels chasable. As a youngster, we knew Madushanka would deliver, and as a captain we had to back him. It can happen to any team in the world. [On the first game against Afghanistan] It happened for a good reason. We had serious discussions after that game. Each and every individual did well for us and that is how we became champions. The fielding improved a lot in the finals. We had some mistakes in the league stages. We were 100% today, credit to the players and the coaching staff. I want to thank the Sri Lankan cricket board and the selectors as well.’
Babar Azam, Losing captain, said, ‘ Congratulations to Sri Lanka for playing outstanding cricket. We dominated them for the first eight overs, but the partnership that Rajapaska got was amazing. This was a true wicket. But Rizwan, Naseem and Nawaz were positives. Ups and downs will be there, but it would be nicer if we made lesser mistakes.’

Bhanuka Rajapaksa, MoM, said, It was not easy out there. Pakistan were bowling well. When Wanindu came in, we got a plan. We wanted to be positive all through. When Iftikhar was bowling, Wanindu said that he would attack him. But thankfully both of us went hard. I had to change my game because Pakistanis were on top. We wanted to spend some time in the crease and that helped in getting 170. When Chris (Silverwood) came out to talk to us after the 10th over, I told him that 140 was a good score. But we stayed till the end and the target was much different. The last ball six and the last over helped us with the momentum and this is a game of momentum.