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Asia Cup 2022: Sri Lanka drub Pakistan in dress rehearsal for final | Cricket News – Times of India


DUBAI: Sri Lanka’s resurgence as a T20I team continued on Friday night as they convincingly beat Pakistan by five wickets, with three overs to spare, after dismissing them for a paltry 121 just two days before the same teams clash in Sunday’s final.
Both teams rested a couple of important players but there was no compromise in the intensity. Dasun Shanaka didn’t want to experiment and stuck to the winning formula of winning the toss and bowling first. The most heartening aspect of the bowling was star leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga rediscovering his rhythm to take 3/21 before opener Pathum Nissanka stayed unbeaten on 55 off 48 to see Sri Lanka home.

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If Friday’s match is any indication, one can expect another thriller in the final. Defending 121, the Pakistan bowlers, without Naseem Shah and Shadab Khan, were not going to make it easy for the Lankan batting. Pacer Mohammad Hasnain (2/21) and Haris Rauf (2/19) came hard with the new ball to reduce Sri Lanka to 29/3 in five overs.

However, Nissanka anchored the innings well with Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24 off 19) and Dasun Shanaka (21 off 16) to ensure there was no collapse.

It was a match in which Pakistan captain Babar Azam could have played himself in and regained his form ahead of the final. Babar decided to take his time and bat deep even as the Sri Lankan bowling, which has been very effective at the top of the innings, kept chipping away at the wickets. As spinner Maheesh Theeksana applied the choke in the powerplay, the Pakistan innings struggled to get going. The pressure applied by Theeksana, Dilshan Madushanka and Pramod Madushan up front was amplified by Hasaranga. Every time Pakistan tried to break the shackles; Sri Lanka had an answer.

The real contest was when Babar faced Hasaranga. Batting on 30 at about a run-a-ball, he couldn’t have taken anymore time to settle in. Babar showed his first real sign of intent when he ran down the track to Hasaranga, only to be beaten in the air as his wild slog missed the ball and hit the stumps.

Hasaranga’s guile was too tough to get past. Every time a Pakistan batter tried to go big, Hasaranga found their stumps.
Scores: Sri Lanka 124/5 in 17 overs (Nissanka 55*, Rauf 2/19) beat Pakistan 121 in 20 overs (Babar 30, Hasaranga 3/21) by 5 wkts (with 18 balls remaining).





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