Sri Lanka registered their fourth consecutive win by defeating Pakistan by five wickets in the final match of the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup T20 cricket tournament on Friday. This match was a dress rehearsal of the final as both the teams will play in the title match on Sunday. Sri Lanka won the match with a half-century from opener Pathum Nisanka after the spinner magic led by leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga. Chasing Pakistan’s target of 122 runs, Sri Lanka made five in 17 overs with Nisanka’s unbeaten 55 off 48 balls with five fours and a six and his fourth wicket partnership of 51 runs with Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24). Won by scoring 124 runs for the wicket. Captain Dasun Shanaka also scored 21 runs in 16 balls. Sri Lanka remained unbeaten in the Super Four stage.
Poor start for Sri Lanka
Chasing the target, Sri Lanka’s start was also very poor and the team lost the wickets of openers Kusal Das and Danushka Gunathilak till the score of two runs in the second over. Both of them could not even open the account. Mohammad Hasnain (2 for 21) got Mendis caught by Iftikhar Ahmed in the very first over, while in the next over, Gunatilak was caught by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan off Haris Rauf (2 for 19).
In his next over, Rauf got Dhananjay de Silva (09) caught by Azam to make Sri Lanka 29 for three. Sri Lanka scored 37 for three in the power play. Opener Nisanka held one end. He showed his attitude with three fours in the fourth over of Hasan Ali’s innings and then hit two fours in this fast bowler’s next over as well.
Nisanka hits fifty
Bhanuka Rajapaksa took the team’s score past 50 runs in the eighth over with a six on leg-spinner Usman Qadir. He hit another six in the next over of this spinner. Nisanka also hit a six in Qadir’s next over but Rajapaksa caught Rauf a ball later. Rajapaksa hit two sixes in his 19-ball innings.
Nisanka completed his second consecutive half-century in 41 balls with a run off Qadir. Captain Dasun Shanaka (21) hit a four and a six off Rauf’s successive deliveries. Sri Lanka needed 19 runs to win in the last five overs. Shanaka hit a six on Hasnain but was caught by Hasan Ali on the next ball. Wanindu Hasaranga (10 not out) hit two fours on Hasnain to take Sri Lanka to the target.
Earlier, Sri Lanka bundled out Pakistan for 121 runs in the Super Four match of the Asia Cup T20 cricket tournament on Friday due to a brilliant performance from the spinners led by leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga. This match is the dress rehearsal of the final, as both the teams will play in the title match on Sunday. Hasaranga took three wickets for 21 runs. Off-spinners Mahish Teikshan (2 for 21) and Dhananjay de Silva (18 for one) and debutant pacer Pramod Madusan (2 for 21) played a good role in their side as Pakistan were reduced to 19.1 overs. Pakistan’s batsmen struggled to score runs after the power play.
For Pakistan, only captain Babar Azam (30) and Mohammad Nawaz (26) could cross the 20-run mark. Electing to bat after losing the toss, Pakistan lost the wicket of in-form Mohammad Rizwan in the fourth over, who after scoring 14 runs in 14 balls, was caught by wicketkeeper Kusal Mendis off Madusan. Opener Azam looked in rhythm. He opened the account with a four off Dilshan Madushanka and then also hit a four on Madusan. Pakistan scored 49 runs for one wicket in the power play.
The Sri Lankan bowlers then put pressure on the Pakistan batsmen by bowling tight. Its effect was visible on Pakistan’s batting and Fakhar Zaman, after scoring just 13 runs in 18 balls in the 10th over, was caught by Hasranga off the ball of Chamika Karunaratne.
In the next over, Hasranga bowled Azam to make Pakistan 68 for three. Dhananjay then ended the innings of Khushdil Shah (04) while Hasaranga broke the backbone of Pakistan’s middle order by bowling Iftikhar Ahmed (13) and Asif Ali (00) in successive deliveries.
Teikshana made Hasan Ali (00) caught by Hasranga and made Pakistan 95 for seven. Nawaz hit a six on Teekshana but the off-spinner got Usman Qadir (03) caught by Pathum Nisanka.
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Nawaz hit his second six off Madushanka but was run out trying to take two runs off the next ball. He faced 18 balls and hit two sixes and a four. Madusan ended Pakistan’s innings by dismissing Haris Rauf in the first ball of the last over.
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