Magnificent Sri Lanka thrash Pakistan to win Asia Cup 2022 

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Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup 2022 for the 6th time in history

Sri Lanka produced a monumental effort in the final of the Asia Cup 2022 tournament against Pakistan to win the competition for the 6th time in history, bouncing back from a precarious position to win the game by 23 runs in a one-sided finish despite best efforts from the Pakistani fast bowlers and a fine half-century from Mohammad Rizwan

Batting first, the island nation’s team was rattled by raw pace and swing of the Pakistani fast bowlers to be reduced to 58-5 at one stage, after 8.5 overs. 

But their star left-handed batsman Bhanuka Rajpaksa produced a rearguard effort, rallied the other batsmen around him to power his side to a formidable 170/6 at the end of the 20th over. 

It all began with Naseem Shah cleaning up Kushal Mendis on a superb delivery that moved sharply in on the batsmen to hand him the first ball duck, followed by Pathum Nissanka falling under pressure for 8. 

Dhananjaya de Silva played some spectacular strokes to make 28 from 21 balls but wickets kept falling at regular intervals for Sri Lanka and they could not arrest the slide for at least the first half of their batting innings.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa played superbly on Sunday night to read the revival for Sri Lanka, ending up at 71 not out from just 45 balls with the help of 6 boundaries and 3 sixes and added vital runs in the company of Wanindu Hasaranga (36) and Chamika Karunaratne (14*) to help his side finish on a high. 

The Pakistani bowlers were to be blamed for letting the momentum shift from the control of their side to that of Sri Lanka as they had no reply to the fightback shown by the opposition batsmen. After losing 5 wickets for just 58 runs inside 9 overs, all that Sri Lanka lost was one more wicket while adding 112 runs in the next 11.5 overs to finish at total which eventually proved beyond the Pakistani batsmen.

If momentum was in the favour of Sri Lanka at the innings break, it indeed turned sharply in the favour of Pakistan right at the start when Dilshan Madushanka bowled plenty of illegitimate deliveries to give away 9 runs without having a single legitimate delivery bowled in the innings. 

The first ball was a no-ball for overstepping, followed by two more wides, then a wide delivery down the leg side which beat the ‘keeper and then again a wide. Overall, Dilshan Madushanka bowled 5 illegitimate balls to begin with. 

A bizarre start indeed got Pakistan some much needed runs right at the beginning but their best batting pair of Babar Azan and Mohammad Rizwan failed to capitalise on it.

The horror run of scores continued for Pakistani captain Babar Azam who was caught at short fine leg off Pramod Madushan for 5 in the fourth over, while Fakhar Zaman played one on to his wickets on the next ball that left Pakistan reeling at 22/2 and staring at a mountain to climb.

Pakistan were indeed bolstered by a strong stand of 71 runs for the third wicket between Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammed Rizwan but they were too slow in garnering their runs as the asking rate kept steadily climbing up.

At one stage, Pakistan needed more than 11 to score from the remaining overs in order to go past the finish line and that was when they began cracking under pressure and ended up being bowled out for just 147. 

Mohammad Rizwan scored 55 from 49 balls with 4 fours and 1 six while Iftikhar Ahmed made a 31-ball 32 with 2 fours and a six. 

For Sri Lanka, Pramod Madushan was the pick among the bowlers, returning with 4-0-34-4 while Wanindu Hasaranga took three wickets inside one overs to return with 4-0-27-3. Chamika Karunaratne claimed 2/33 while Maheesh Theekshana bowled an impressive spell of 4-0-25-1. 

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