‘Just told Pathirana to run hard…’: Charith Asalanka on last-ball heist against Pakistan | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Allrounder Charith Asalanka played a sensational knock of unbeaten 49 against Pakistan to take Sri Lanka into the final of the Asia Cup 2023 on Thursday.
Sri Lanka were in a spot of bother when they lost their 8th wicket in the final over as they still needed six off the last two balls. Asalanka then hit a four and ran a two off debutant pacer Zaman Khan to register a thrilling two-wicket win as Sri Lanka chased down a DLS target of 252 in the last delivery.
“I just thought how can I get two to hit a gap and run hard because it is a big field and just told Pathirana to run hard,” Asalanka said after the match.The 26-year-old Asalanka described his sensational 47-ball 49 not out as the second best knock of his career.
“I thought either he will bowl a bouncer or a yorker and then he bowled a slower ball, so it was on my side. I am very excited. Mendis and Sadeera batted really well. I wanted to finish. That is my role. I can rank this innings second place in my book,” Asalanka added.
Kusal Mendis slammed an 87-ball 91 to set up the chase for Sri Lanka. He added a valuable 100 off 98 balls with Sadeera Samarawickrama (48).

“Happy with my performance, happy to get to the final,” said Mendis, who was adjudged the Player of the Match.
“Those two wickets fell down and we were nervous, but with Charith in the middle we had hope. He’s done this in one game against Afghanistan. I think we also bowled really well, so happy to be in the final. Wanindu, Kumara and Dusmantha are main bowlers, but we have these bowlers who are bowling well. This is a young unit,” Mendis said.

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Winning captain Dasun Shanaka praised his team for reaching back-to-back finals.
“We had the game under control, but the losing of wickets took it till the last over. We gave them a chance to come back in the game, but we knew Charith could get us home,” he said.
“We had a discussion before batting and we discussed the mistakes we made in the India game. We gave away wickets in the first 10 overs, and Kusal and Sadeera played brilliant knocks. I think they are the best players of spin in the Sri Lanka squad. And Charith, he showed great character. Special feeling, back to back finals.”
(With inputs from PTI)

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