Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka dedicates title win to his country

DUBAI: Following his side’s Asia Cup title win, Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka dedicated the win to his country.

A 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.
“We would like to dedicate this victory to our country. They all were waiting for this,” said Shanaka after the match in a press conference.

The captain said that the team had a serious discussion after their first loss to Afghanistan in the group stage. “We knew we had talent but it is about applying it in game scenarios. The players stood up, each and everyone contributed. This is the environment as a team that we have made,” he added.

Shanaka said that before the game, his side felt that 170 would be a good score in the final. “We have got variety in our bowling. It is tough to chase 170 in the final. I think that last six by Bhanuka was special,” he added. Shanaka said that though Sri Lanka played good cricket in the past 2-3 years, the winning factor was missing.

“We have had a good turnaround. This lot will continue for 5-6 years. It will be a great team,” he added. Batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa also said that his side wanted to create memorable moments like this for the fans. “We are playing fantastically well as a unit. We are looking forward to World Cup and keeping up the momentum. There is a lot of crisis happening back home. We are glad and hope we brought some smiles to faces,” he added.

A 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 of the tournament 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, despite a threatening stand of 61-runs between Mohammad Rizwan (55) and Iftikhar Ahmed (32).

Chasing 171, Pakistan got some free runs as pacer Dilshan Madushanka gave away nine extras due to wides and no balls. However, the pacer made a comeback, giving only three more runs in his over.

Sri Lanka kept Pakistani willows silent for the next two overs and struck gold with the wicket of star batter Babar Azam for 5. Pramod Madushan took his wicket after the batter was caught by Madhushanka at short fine leg, with the latter making up for his expensive first over. Pakistan was 1/22.

Madushan dismissed left-hander Fakhar Zaman for a golden duck, taking two wickets in two balls. After a terrible first over, Sri Lanka were favourites again, having reduced Pakistan to 2/22.

From then on, Rizwan and Ifitkhar Ahmed tried to steady the ship for Pakistan. Sri Lanka, however, continued bowling brilliant lines and lengths, keeping their opponents largely on the backfoot. Men in Green could score only 15 in 15 balls after Madushan’s double blow and at powerplay end in six overs, Pakistan was at 37/2, with Rizwan (16*) and Iftikhar (6*).

The duo helped run come for Pakistan and the 50-run mark was touched in 7.3 overs.

At the end of 10 overs, Pakistan was at 68/3, with Rizwan (36*) and Ifitkhar (17*) at the crease.

A 50-run stand between the duo was up in 44 balls. At the start of the second half, Iftikhar seemed to turn things in his side’s favour with a four and six. Wanindu Hasaranga’s 12th over gave away 14 runs.

Things seemed to swing in favour of Sri Lanka when Madushan bagged his third wicket of the match in the 14th over. He ended the 71-run stand between Rizwan and Iftikhar after the latter was caught for 32 off 31 balls at backward square leg by KNA Bandara.

Mohammad Nawaz was next on the crease. At the end of 15 overs, Pakistan was at 101/3, with Rizwan (47*) and Nawaz (6*). A solid 15th over by Dhananjya de Silva built pressure on Pakistan by giving away just four runs. Pakistan needed 70 runs in the final five overs.

Pressure piled up on Pakistan and evidence was Nawaz giving away his wicket for just four runs to Chamika Karurathne while attempting to pull but was caught by Madushan at backward deep square. Pakistan was reduced to 102/4.

Khusdil Shah was the next batter on the crease. Rizwan brought up his third half-century of the tournament with a pressure-relieving six.

However, Hasaranga’s final over changed the game in favour of Sri Lanka once again as he picked up wickets of Rizwan (55), Asif Ali (0) and Khusdil (2) in a span of five balls. Pakistan sunk to 112/7 after this over. Miseries did not seem to end for Pakistan as Theekshana dismissed Shadab Khan for just 8 runs after he was caught by Gunathilaka. Naseem Shah, Pakistan’s hero in the match against Afghanistan was also sent packing by Madushan, who got his fourth wicket of the match after Karunarathne caught him at long-on.

Pakistan finished the match at 147 all out after Haris Rauf was bowled by Karunaratne for 13. Sri Lanka clinched its sixth Asia Cup 2022 title.

Madushan (4/34) and Hasaranga (3/27) were the heroes for Sri Lanka with the ball. Theekshana and Karunaratne took one scalp each. An unbeaten half-century from Bhanuka Rajapaksa and solid knocks from Dhananjaya de Silva and Wanindu Hasaranga powered Sri Lanka to 170/6 in their 20 overs against Pakistan in the final of Asia Cup 2022 here in Dubai on Sunday.

Pakistan will not be happy with how things turned out for them. Despite having SL reeling at 42/3 in the powerplay, they let Rajapaksa (71*), Hasaranga (36) and Silva (28) guide their side to a challenging total. Haris Rauf though had an impressive outing with 3/29.

Fielding first, Pakistan was off to a great start as pacer Naseem Shah removed dangerous opener Kusal Mendis for a golden duck. A 142 kmph delivery came in, clipped the pads of the batter and dismantled his off stump. Sri Lanka was at 1/2.

With this, Dhananjaya de Silva joined Pathum Nissanka. Silva delighted the excited Sri Lankan crowd with some well-placed drives. Nissanka also seemed to have joined his partner in a counterattack with a cover drive of his own. But pacer Haris Rauf put an end to this brief 21-run stand by dismissing Nissanka for just eight runs off 11 balls, who was trying to hit big over mid-on where Babar Azam took a good running catch.

Danushka Gunathilaka joined Silva at the crease, looking to take Lankans past powerplay without any damage. Silva continued finding gaps at will. But on the other side, Pakistan continued to find the stumps of their opponents, with Rauf getting his second victim. He sent back Gunathilaka for just one-off four balls to reduce SL to 36/3. A 151 kmph delivery caught the batter off guard and dismantled the furniture before he could even play his shot.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa was next on the crease and started his inning with a lucky boundary as a 153 kmph delivery got the thick outside edge of his bat and went straight to the boundary line.

Sri Lanka ended a harsh powerplay with 42 runs on the board at the loss of three wickets, with Silva (24*) and Rajapaksa (6*) at the crease.

The road after powerplay was not smooth for Lanka either as Silva was caught and bowled by Iftikhar Ahmed for 28 off 21 balls. Spin had joined the party.

This brought skipper Shanaka to the crease, who could only score two off five balls after Shadab Khan’s spin deceived him. He missed the ball big time while attempting to sweep and was clean bowled. With this, half of the Sri Lankan team was back in the hut for 58.

So far, Rajapaksa had held an end steady. Wanindu Hasaranga joined him next. At the end of 10 overs, SL was at 67/5, Rajapaksa (20*) and Hasaranga (6*) were at the crease. Hasaranga hit the first six of the innings in the 13th over bowled by Mohammad Hasnain, which brought SL 14 runs. The stand of Rajapaksa and Hasaranga helped SL reach the 100-run mark in 13.1 overs.

The scoreboard kept ticking for SL and this partnership completed 50 runs in 14.2 overs. It was important for both to finish things off for Lanka and guide them to a challenging score. Hasaranga was the aggressor in the stand, scoring a valuable 36 off 21 balls after being caught behind by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan on a Rauf delivery. The pacer got his third wicket of the match, which ended a threatening 58-run stand.

At the end of 15 overs, Sri Lanka was at 117/6, with Rajapaksa (37*) joined by Chamika Karunaratne (1*). Sri Lanka had made up for their powerplay hiccups with their game in middle overs, scoring 78 runs at the loss of three wickets. Rajapaksa and Karunaratne then made a mockery of Naseem Shah, smashing him for two sixes and taking 16 runs from his over.

Rajapaksa brought up his third T20 half-century in the 18th over off 35 balls. He had helped Lanka stay in the game despite some early wickets and had to bat till the end for the betterment of his side.

Hasnain’s 19th over though helped Pakistan get a breather for the first five balls, but Rajapaksa hit a six on the final ball, after he survived a catch attempt after two fielders collided. Sri Lanka ended their innings at 170/6 in 20 overs. They had made a brilliant recovery from scoring 42/3 in the powerplay. They made 78 runs in middle overs from overs 7-16 and got 50 runs in the death overs.

Rajapaksa scored an unbeaten in 71 off 45 balls with six fours and three sixes. Karuratne (14*) stood tall with him to form a 54-run stand off just 31 balls.

Haris Rauf was the leading bowler for Pakistan, taking 3/29 in four overs. Shadab, Iftikhar and Naseem got one wicket each. (ANI)