Dubai: Some scintillating batting from Bhanuka Rajapaksa (71 off 45 balls) followed by a four-wicket haul by Pramod Madushan and a three-wicket over by Wanindu Hasaranga helped Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 23 runs to lift their sixth Asia Cup title at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.
Speaking about their win, Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka said, “I must thank the crowd, they were supporting us massively. And also to the fans at home, hope we made them proud. These youngsters know conditions and situation really well. After losing five wickets, Hasaranga-Rajapaksa made a difference. Up front, Chamika and DDS batted really well too. The last-ball six in the 20th over was the turnaround point. 170 is always a tricky total.”
Talking about their loss in the first game, Shanaka said, ” It could happen to any good team. It happened to us for a good reason. We had serious discussions after that. We have players with good calibre, and they stood up well. That’s where we became champions.”
Congratulating Sri Lanka for their outstanding win, Pakistan captain Babar Azam said, “The way we dominated them early, their partnership after that was outstanding. The pitch was good, like the Dubai wicket, always fun to play here. As a batting unit we didn’t do according to our potential. We didn’t finish the way we would’ve wanted to. But there are lots of positives from the tournament. Our fielding wasn’t up to the mark today, and our middle-order couldn’t finish well today. But there were lot of individual performances– Rizwan, Shadab, Nawaz and Naseem.”
Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who was Player of the Match for his 45-ball 71, said after being five down, it wasn’t easy out there. “They were bowling well. Wanindu and I had a nice plan. Nature of SL team is to be positive and not have pressure. That helped us score runs. When Iftikhar was bowling, Wanindu wanted to attack, but fortunately both of us were getting the runs. I had to change my game today since Pakistan were top at the moment. Had to spend some time at the crease. When Chris came to talk to us at the drinks break, I told him that it looks like a 140 pitch. And eventually we stayed till the end and the eventual target was much different. This is a game of momentum, and we set the momentum in the last over of the first innings.”