Sri Lanka clinched a thrilling last-ball victory over Pakistan to secure their place in the Asia Cup 2023 final. They managed to collect two crucial runs off the final delivery in a nail-biting virtual semi-final.
Winning the toss, Pakistan opted to bat and compiled a score of 252/7 in 42 overs (DLS). Mohammad Rizwan (86* in 73 balls), Abdullah Shafique (52), and Iftikhar Ahmed (47) contributed significantly to their batting effort.
In response, Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis (91 in 87 balls) played a sensational innings, laying the foundation for the chase. Sadeera Samarawickrama (48) provided valuable support. However, a twist in the tale came when Iftikhar Ahmed claimed three wickets, disrupting Sri Lanka’s momentum.
The match reached a tense climax when Shaheen Afridi delivered two crucial wickets for Pakistan in the penultimate over. The equation eventually boiled down to needing two runs from the final ball. In a display of nerves of steel, Charith Asalanka (49*) expertly placed Zaman Khan’s full-length delivery into an unguarded leg-side region, securing two runs to seal the victory for Sri Lanka.
Watch the Winning Moments Here:
Dasun Shanaka, speaking during the post-match presentation, acknowledged that his team had controlled most of the chase but allowed it to slip away with the loss of quick wickets. He praised Charith Asalanka for his composed finish and credited Kusal Mendis for laying a strong foundation. Reflecting on the win, Shanaka expressed his thoughts, saying:
“We had the game under our control but the loss of wickets, especially mine and Dhananjaya de Silva’s, I think we could have stayed until the last over. Pakistan came back strongly but Charith held his nerve again. We had a discussion before going out to bat. The coaching staff spoke about the mistakes done in the India game. We gave wickets in the first ten overs and today we didn’t want to do it again.”
“We have learnt from our mistakes and it was a brilliant knock from Kusal Mendis. Sadeera Samarawickrama – I think they (him and Mendis) are the best players of spin in Sri Lanka. And of course Charith. It’s an amazing feeling – back-to-back finals so it’s special for me and the whole of Sri Lanka. I must thank the crowd for supporting us. Looking forward to the final as well.”