Sent into bat after losing the toss, the Lankans recovered from 58 for 5 to post 170 for 6 courtesy Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s 45-ball 71*. Pramod Madushan (4/34) and Wanindu Hasaranga (3/27) then starred with the ball as Sri Lanka cleaned up Pakistan for 147.
Sri Lanka offered some early gifts to Pakistan as Dilshan Madushanka began proceedings with a no ball, followed by a number of wides. Pakistan were 12 for no loss after the first over without too much effort of their own. Madushan, however, struck a double blow in the fourth over to put Pakistan on the backfoot.
Babar Azam’s poor tournament came to a lackluster end as he flicked a delivery down leg from Madushan to short fine leg. The Pakistan captain contributed 5 off 6. To Pakistan’s horror, Fakhar Zaman (0) dragged the next delivery onto his stumps.
Mohammad Rizwan (55 off 49) and Iftikhar Ahmed (32 off 31) then came up with a rescue act. They did not go too hard, though, and hit occasional boundaries. As a result, Pakistan had only reached 68 for 2 at the halfway stage of their innings.
Iftikhar took on Hasaranga in the 12th over, slog-sweeping him for a six and hitting the next ball for an inside-out four. His innings, however, ended when he mistimed a big hit off Madushan to deep backward square leg.
Rizwan held one end up, but could not break free due to the loss of wickets. Pakistan lost their fourth with the score on 102 as Mohammad Nawaz (6) swung a short ball from Chamika Karunaratne (2/33) straight into the hands of deep backward square leg. Rizwan reached his fifty in the same over, with a slog sweep for a maximum.
The Pakistan keeper-batter did not last long after completing his half-century. With the game slipping away, he tried to take on Hasaranga, but only managed to give a catch to deep midwicket. Then, in a repeat of the Super 4 game, the Sri Lankan leg-spinner bowled Asif Ali for a duck. Hasaranga picked up his third wicket in the same over when Khushdil Shah (2) sliced a slog to short third man.
Madushan had his fourth when Naseem Shah (4) lofted a slower ball straight to long-off. The winning moment came off the last ball of the 20th over as Karunaratne knocked over Haris Rauf (13) with a full and straight delivery.
Rajapaksa’s 71* lifts Sri Lanka after disastrous start
In-form batter Rajapaksa smashed an unbeaten 71 off 45 balls as Sri Lanka recovered from a precarious 58 for 5 to post 170 for 6 in the Asia Cup 2022 final. Rajapaksa struck six fours and three sixes in his excellent innings and featured in a sixth-wicket stand of 58 with Hasaranga (36 off 21).
Pakistan got off to a brilliant start with the ball as Naseem Shah rattled Kusal Mendis’ stumps with a pacy delivery. The Lankan opener was back in the hut for a golden duck. Rauf then stuck twice to claim the big wickets of Pathum Nissanka (8) and Danushka Gunathilaka (1). Nissanka miscued a bit hit and was caught at mid-off, while Gunathilaka missed a quick delivery and was bowled.
Dhananjaya de Silva batted went for his 28 before offering a return catch to Iftikhar. Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka (2) then played a horrible slog against Shadab Khan and was clean bowled. The Lankans had lost half their side before the 10th over and the Asia Cup final seemed to be heading Pakistan’s way.
Rajapaksa and Hasaranga decided to counter-attack, and their ploy worked. The batters slammed Shadab for one four each in the 11th over. Hasaranga took on Mohammad Hasnain and whacked him for a four to deep extra cover and a six over deep third man. The Sri Lankan all-rounder slammed consecutive fours off Rauf in the 15th over, before being caught behind off the next ball.
Rauf could have dismissed Rajapaksa on 46 in the 18th over. However, Shadab failed to latch on to a skier at long-off. The Sri Lankan left-hander went on to complete a 35-ball 50.
Pakistan could have dismissed Rajapaksa on the last ball of the penultimate over bowled by Hasnain. The Lankan batted again miscued a big hit. However, Shadab and Asif Ali collided near the ropes while attempting to take the catch, minus any calling. Worse, the ball landed over the boundary fence for six.
Rajapaksa made Pakistan pay for their errors, smashing Naseem for a four and a six off the last two balls of the innings.
SL vs PAK 2022: Who was Player of the Match in Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2022 final?
Rajapaksa enjoyed some luck, but he played a superb knock under pressure after Sri Lanka had lost half their side for under 60. Hasaranga had an excellent all-round game. He followed up his crucial 36 with three wickets in one over. Young Madushan impressed yet again, finishing with four wickets.
For runners-up Pakistan, Rauf did well, claiming 3 for 29. Rizwan battled hard for another half-century, but could not guide his team to victory.
Rajapaksa was named Player of the Match for his game-changing knock in the Asia Cup 2022 final. Hasaranga was picked as Player of the Tournament for his all-round brilliance.