Sri Lanka outshines Pakistan to clinch their 6th Asia Cup title

Sri Lanka have clinched their 6th Asia Cup title as they beat Pakistan by 23 runs in the final in Dubai. Sri Lanka came into the tournament as the underdogs with one of the teams with the least chances to lift the cup. They were the hosts of the tournament which was shifted from their country to UAE due to the unstable economic conditions in the island nation. After being thrashed by Afghanistan in the opening match of the tournament, Lankans remained unbeatable for the rest of the campaign. P

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By HIMANSHU BADOLA
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Sri Lanka outshines Pakistan to clinch their 6th Asia Cup title

Sri Lanka have clinched their 6th Asia Cup title as they beat Pakistan by 23 runs in the final in Dubai. Sri Lanka came into the tournament as the underdogs with one of the teams with the least chances to lift the cup.

They were the hosts of the tournament which was shifted from their country to UAE due to the unstable economic conditions in the island nation. After being thrashed by Afghanistan in the opening match of the tournament, Lankans remained unbeatable for the rest of the campaign.

Pakistan elected to bowl first after winning the toss and started well as they took 3 wickets inside the powerplay. They bowled tight lines and outclassed the top order with sheer pace.

Sri Lanka had the worst of starts as they lost early wickets and were struggling for 58/5 at a moment. Bhanuka Rajapaksa was then joined by Wanindu Hasaranga as they both started hitting boundaries and getting runs quite easily.

They both added 58 runs for the 6th wicket and took the team total past the 100-run mark as Hasaranga was dismissed in the 15th over by Haris Rauf.

Rajapaksa on the other hand shifted his gears and went on to score 3rd half-century of his T2OI career. Sri Lanka managed to post 170/6 in their 20 overs with Rajapaksa being the highest scorer as he remained unbeaten on 71 runs in 45 balls with 6 fours and 3 sixes. Rauf was the most successful bowler for Pakistan as he took 3 wickets in his four overs with Shadab, Naseem, and Iftikhar getting a single wicket each.
Chasing the target, Pakistan had a poor start as they lost captain Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman back to back cheaply once again in the 4th over.

Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed then recovered the innings and build up a partnership as both added 71 runs for the 3rd wicket. Iftikhar was dismissed for 32 runs by Pramod Madushan in the 14 over which drove back Sri Lanka into the game.

Pakistan then kept losing wickets at regular intervals with Rizwan scoring a half-century at the other end followed by his dismissal in the 17th over.

No Pakistani batter excluding Haris Rauf after that could even reach the 20-run mark as Pakistan were bowled out for 147 runs in their 20 overs.

The slow partnership between Rizwan and Iftikhar allowed Lankans to mount their grip with the ball as the run rate pressure kept increasing on the chasing side. Lankan bowlers were exceptionally well in the finals as they defend the target with a magnificent grid and determination and grabbed the win by 23 runs.

Pramod Madushan took 4 wickets in his four overs, but Hasaranga bowled the game-changing over as he took 3 wickets, including Rizwan's, in the 17th over. Chamika Karunaratne clinched 2 wickets with Theekshana getting one wicket as well.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa for his 71-run knock was adjudged as player of the match and Wanindu Hasaranga for his all-round performance throughout the tournament was adjudged as player of the tournament.

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