Sri Lanka were tottering at 58/5 at one point after being put in to bat by Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2022 final in Dubai on Sunday, but Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s brilliant unbeaten 71-run knock coupled with crucial cameos from Wanindu Hasaranga and Chamika Karunaratne helped take them to 170/6 in 20 overs. But in conditions where chasing teams have held a major edge, Sri Lanka had to get off to a tight start, but pacer Dilshan Madushanka gifted Pakistan a good boost in their chase.
The left-arm seamer started with a no-ball and then bowled a short ball too high and it was called a wide.
He then strayed down leg-side for five wides as the ball ran away to the boundary rope.
If that was not enough, he bowled another leg-side wide to leave the score reading 9/0 off 0 deliveries.
Rizwan got a single off the next delivery, which was Sri Lanka’s first legitimate delivery.
However, things were back on track soon for Sri Lanka as Pramod Madushan sent Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman packing off consecutive deliveries in the fourth over.
Pakistan had a great start to the match as Naseem Shah struck in the very first over to remove Kusal Mendis.
Haris Rauf then struck twice to leave Sri Lanka reeling and matters got worse when Iftikhar Ahmed removed the Dhananjaya de Silva, who was batting freely. Dasun Shanaka fell in the 9th over and Sri Lanka looked in real trouble.
But Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who has been in fine form through the tournament, took the attack to the Pakistan bowlers, while Wanindu Hasaranga also stepped up the tempo.
A 58-run stand between the two ended when Rauf claimed his third wicket to send Hasaranga back to the pavillion.
But Rajapaksa carried on his assault and found some support in Chamika Karunaratne as he took Sri Lanka to a fighting total.
Rajapaksa finished with 71 off 45 deliveries, with six fours and three sixes.
Topics mentioned in this article