Sri Lanka entered the finals of the Asia Cup 2023 by beating Pakistan in a last-ball thriller on September 14, 2023, at R. Premadasa Stadium. It was a rain-curtailed event that went on for 42 overs. Pakistan looked to be in a better position when Rizwan made a total 86-run contribution to the side. He even remained unbeaten, making sure that Azam’s bowling line-up did not come under pressure.
It was only obvious for him to consider that situation since Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf were not in the playing 11 as both had sustained injuries during their previous game against India.
Despite being struck in every over, Sri Lanka gained control of the match despite their late entry. Fakhar Zaman was limited to four runs off 11 balls at a rate of 36.36. His opening pair was responsible for keeping the scoreboard active. That was successful; he scored fifty runs in a 10-over individual play.
The Pakistani skipper believed he would be able to replicate his performance against Nepal against his co-host. However, Shanaka had a different strategy for him during the sixteenth over. Wellalage, his go-to all-rounder, was given the ball. Mendis was able to gauge the tempo for a subsequent stumping attack. Babar Azam did not see this coming and was forced to depart after a solid innings.
A 50-over ODI game was later brought down by 8 overs, allowing 2 bowlers to deliver a spell of 9 overs and 3 bowlers to run for the remaining 8 overs each. Many SL bowlers turned out to be expensive, giving Shanaka limited options. Pathirana and Madushan kept the game alive for him. Odds on many cricket betting sites once showed them losing the match, especially when Pakistan had reached 250+ runs. That was a difficult target to chase.
The co-hosts clarified their intention: to go after the chase at every possible cost. An average of 6 per over is a risky job they were attempting. Nevertheless, the one-time hard-core effort investment came in handy. They are through to the final for the second consecutive time in the Asia Cup.
Kusal Mendis scored 91 runs in 87 balls. Sadeera did miss his half-century by two runs, but he stood on the other side for his partner to continue building the pyramid. Iftikhar Ahmed struck the right chords when Azam ordered him to break the partnership.
Celebrations were pretty palpable, for they had gotten the game under control. It was a knockout scenario, with both of them standing on the table with 2 points each. The winning team would enter the final with 4 points, irrespective of their NRR.
Aslanka remained unbeaten until the time the goal was scored. Madushan was indeed affected by the runout. Pathirana rectified this mistake and completed the game with two runs to seal the victory.
India will now warm up for the finals against Bangladesh on September 15, 2023, at the same venue at 3 p.m. IST. They will then go up against SL on September 17, 2023, for the final of the Asia Cup 2023.