Shoaib Akhtar rues no India-Pak final in Asia Cup 2023: Poori duniya dekhna chahti thi | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Former Pakistan fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar rued that there would be no India vs Pakistan in the final of the 2023 Asia Cup as the Men in Green got knocked out of the competition after a two-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in a decisive Super Four clash on Thursday.
The thrilling contest took place in Colombo, with Sri Lanka chasing a DLS-adjusted target of 252 in a 42-overs-a-side battle.

In the final over, Sri Lanka required eight runs, a seemingly insurmountable task. However, Charith Asalanka held his nerve and delivered the winning blow on the very last ball, concluding the intense encounter at 1:07 am local time.

Despite the jubilant home crowd’s celebrations, the outcome left millions of fans disappointed as they had anticipated an India-Pakistan final, setting the stage for the upcoming ODI World Cup, with Akhtar being one of them.
Posting a video on X (formerly known as Twitter), the 48-year-old said, “Pakistan were well-deserved to play the final. The whole world wanted to watch Pakistan play the final. But Pakistan is out of the tournament. Despite being favourites coming into the tournament, Pakistan got knocked out, so we could criticize them harshly.
Unfortunately, there is no chance of an India-Pakistan clash. Sri Lankans were well-deserved.”

Kusal Mendis played a pivotal role in Sri Lanka’s triumph with a stellar 91 runs. His partnership with Sadeera Samarawickrama, who contributed 48 runs, established the foundation for victory. Asalanka stepped up after their departure, ensuring the win despite Shaheen Shah Afridi‘s double strike in the penultimate over.
Iftikhar Ahmed’s off-spin claimed three crucial wickets, including the dismissals of Mendis and Samarawickrama. Earlier, Mohammad Rizwan’s unbeaten 86 guided Pakistan to a total of 252-7 after they opted to bat first in a rain-delayed match. Rizwan’s performance, backed by a 108-run partnership with Iftikhar (47 runs), propelled Pakistan’s innings.
The thrilling contest showcased the competitive spirit of the Lankans, setting the stage for an electrifying final encounter between India and Sri Lanka.
(With AFP inputs)

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