Sri Lanka Wins Thriller, Advance to Asia Cup Finals

Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan by two wickets in a Super Four matchup to qualify for the Asia Cup Finals on Sunday against India. The match went down to the last ball in which Sri Lanka required 2 runs to win. Charith Asalanka kept his nerve to steer his team to victory in the rain-affected match which was reduced to 42 overs per side.

Rizwan Shines as Pakistan Edges Sri Lanka in Cricket Showdown

Mohammad Rizwan top scored for Pakistan with 86 (not out) and Iftikhar Ahmed added 47. The two put on a 108-run partnership which was crucial to Pakistan finishing with a total of 252 for 7. Opener Abdullah Shafique started off the innings well, scoring his first ever international fifty in his fourth match.

The Sri Lankan bowlers started well but were expensive in the back end of the innings. Matheesha Pathirana ended with figures of 3/65 from 8 overs and Pramod Madushan got 2/58 in 7 overs. The spinners Maheesh Theekshana and Dunith Wellalage were economical, each taking a wicket and conceding 42 and 40 runs in their 9 overs respectively.

Kusal Mendis led the way for the Sri Lankan batting lineup with a terrific 91 off just 87 balls which included 8 fours and a six. Sadeera Samarawickrama fell just short of a half century, scoring 48 off 51. Match hero Charith Asalanka made 49 not out, including the winning runs in the last over to get Sri Lanka the win.

Ifthikar Ahamed was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan, going 3-50 in his 8 overs. Opening  bowler, Shaheen Shah Afridi got two wickets and spinner Shadab Khan chipped in with one.

Sri Lanka Vs Pakistan- Match Summary

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat in overcast conditions at the RPS Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The team made 5 changes in their lineup which included the shock call to leave out opener Fakhar Zaman from the side. Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf and Salman Ali Agha were also left out, replaced by Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim and Zaman Khan.

Sri Lanka also made two changes to their team, adding left-hander Kusal Perera and opening bowler Pramod Madushan to their side.

Pakistan started off slowly after losing Fakhar Zaman early in their innings. Captain Babar Azam was able to switch the momentum for his team however with a couple of quick boundaries. He scored 29 before getting a beautiful delivery by Wellalage that led to a stumping. From there Abdullah Shafique and Mohammed Rizwan were able to steady the innings with a 108-run partnership, setting the team up for some big runs at the end. Pakistan ended with a massive total of 251 runs in just 42 overs.

Sri Lankan started off fast in the chase, before opener Kusal Mendis was run out by a brilliant throw from Shadab Khan. Kusal Mendis then came to the crease and played a brilliant 91 off 87 to get his team into a winning position. The Sri Lankans then fumbled a little as they lost four wickets very cheaply in the space of five overs. Luckily for Sri Lanka, Charith Aslanka held his nerve to deliver the win, finishing with an unbeaten 49.

Needing six off the last two balls, Asalanka edged a boundary to third man and then flicked one to square leg for two runs to carry Sri Lanka to 252-8. 

Kusal Mendis was awarded the Player of the Match.

Asia Cup Finals Preview

The Asia Cup Finals will take place on Sunday, September 17th at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo with hosts Sri Lanka taking on India. India beat Sri Lanka earlier in the tournament in a close game to snap a 13 game winning streak. 

India will be favourites in the match, winning the last four meetings between the teams. With home-field advantage, however, Sri Lanka should give the Indians tough competition. Sri Lanka are the reigning Asia Cup champs after beating Pakistan in Dubai last year.