Pakistan vs Bangladesh

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka advances into their 11th Asia Cup final as they emerged victorious in a nail-biter virtual semifinal against Pakistan – Super 4s – Asia Cup 2023 – 14th September 2023

The virtual semi-final between Pakistan vs Sri Lanka begun after a delayed start due to rain. Overs were lost as the match was reduced to a 45-Over match.

Pakistan made 5 changes to their squad from their last match as a few of the players had suffered injuries. Abdullah Shafique came in place of Imam ul Haq, Mohammad Haris in place of Agha Salman, Mohammad Nawaz in place of Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim in place of Haris Rauf whereas Zaman Khan came in place of Naseem Shah. Pakistan decided to bat first after winning the toss.

Let’s delve into the details of the match below.

Match Report

Pakistan Innings – Pakistan vs Sri Lanka – Super 4s – Asia Cup 2023 – 14 September 2023

Fakhar Zaman and Adullah Shafique came out in the middle to open the innings for Pakistan. Pramod Madushan opened the bowling for Sri Lanka. But Fakhar couldn’t change his luck as his poor run continued in ODIs. Fakhar (4 off 11) was clean bowled by Pramod with a brilliant yorker. Pakistan were now 9-1 in 4.2 overs. Babar Azam, the captain, was the new man in at no.3 for Pakistan. Babar calmed things down for Pakistan as both batsmen scored runs with a decent run rate. Both completed their 50 runs partnership in 53 balls.

Sri Lanka’s new rising star, Dunith Wellalage was brought on to bowl and he stroked soon. Wellalage dismissed Babar as he was stumped by Kusal Mendis. Babar departed after scoring 29 runs off 35 balls. Mohammad Rizwan came at no.4 for Pakistan. Soon, Abdullah Shafique completed his 1st fifty in ODIs, that too in a virtual semi final of Asia Cup 2023. But just after completing his fifty, Abdullah (52 off 69) was dismissed by Matheesha Pathirana with a short ball as Pramod completed the catch at deep square leg. Pakistan were now 100-3 in 21.4 overs. Mohammad Haris came at no.5 for Pakistan.

Mohammad Haris never looked comfortable at the wicket as he gave a simple catch to the bowler. Haris was dismissed by Pathirana for just 3(9). Pakistan were now 108-4 in 24 overs. Mohammad Nawaz came to bat at no.6 for Pakistan. This pair started changing gears but soon, Nawaz, who just looked set at the wicket, was clean bowled by Theekshana for 12 off 12. Pakistan were 130-5 in 27.4 overs. Pakistan were now in all sorts of trouble as they needed a big partnership to post a big total on the board in this 45-overs match. Iftikhar Ahmed came to bat no.7 for Pakistan.

At this stage, rain came into play as players went off the ground. Initially it was a passing shower as play was about to resume but rain started heavily. Match was delayed for quite some time as we lost overs as well. Play resumed after a while as the match was reduced to 42-overs a side. Both batsmen started batting with a positive intent just when Pakistan needed it the most.

Mohammad Rizwan rose to the occasion as he completed his 12th ODI fifty of just 48 balls. Soon, both batsmen completed their 50-runs partnership for the 6th wicket in just 42 balls. Rizwan and Iftikhar brought Pakistan back in the game with this partnership. Both batsmen played beautifully, adding some quick runs to the team total. Both players completed their 100-runs partnership for the 6th wicket in just 75 balls.

This partnership ended in the 41th over as Iftikhar was dismissed by Pathirana as Dasun Shanaka, the captain himself took the catch at mid-off. Iftikhar departed after batting beautifully for his important 47(40). Pakistan were now 238-6 in 40.3 overs. Shadab Khan came to bat at no.8 for Pakistan. Shadab was dismissed soon for just 3(3) as he was caught behind by Mendis off the bowling of Pramod Madushan. Pakistan were now 243-7 in 41.2 overs with just 4 balls to go in the innings. Shaheen Shah Afridi came to bat no.9  for Pakistan.

Pakistan finished their innings with 252-7 in 42 overs on board. Mohammad Rizwan finished with his brilliant 86*(73) whereas Shaheen remained not out with 1*(1).

Mohammad Rizwan topped the batting charts for Pakistan with his outstanding 86*(73), followed by Abdullah Shafique with his 52(69), Iftikhar Ahmed with his 47(40) and Babar Azam with his 29(35).

For Sri Lanka, Pathirana was the pick of the bowlers with his 3-65, followed by Pramod Madushan with 2-58, Wellalage with 1-40 and Theekshana with 1-42.

After DLS adjustments, a run was taken off the total as the target for Sri Lanka was 252 in 42 overs. This run proved to be costly for Pakistan.

Also Read : History of Asia Cup – A Glorious Tournament since 1984

Sri Lanka Innings – Pakistan vs Sri Lanka – Super 4s – Asia Cup 2023 – 14 September 2023

For Sri Lanka, Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Perera opened the innings. For Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi opened the bowling. After adding 20 runs for the opening wicket, first wicket fell for Sri Lanka as Perera, who looked good to take on the game, was run out by Shadab Khan with a direct hit for 13(8). Kusal Mendis came to at no.3 for Sri Lanka. Both batsmen started scoring runs at a run rate of over 6. Both batsmen completed their 50-runs partnership for the 2nd wicket in just 51 balls.

Shadab Khan finally broke the stand as he caught Nissanka off his own bowling. Nissanka departed for 29(44). Sri Lanka were now 77-2 in 13.2 overs. Sadeera Samarawickrama came to bat at no.4 for Sri Lanka. This pair also played with the same intent as they completed their 50-run partnership in just 42 balls. Sri Lanka were cruising towards victory at this moment. Meanwhile, Mendis completed his 25th ODI fifty of just 47 balls. Both batsmen dominated Pakistani bowlers at this stage. They soon completed their 100-run partnership for the 2nd wicket in just 97 deliveries.

Iftikhar finally broke this stand as Samarawickrama was stumped by Rizwan. Samarawickrama batted beautifully for his 48(51). Sri Lanka were now 177-3 in 29.4 overs. Charith Asalanka came to bat no.5 for Sri Lanka. Both continued to put Pakistani bowlers under pressure with quick runs. But Iftikhar again broke this partnership as he dismissed Mendis (91 off 87) in the nervous nineties. Haris took a splendid catch just inches off the ground. Sri Lanka were now 210-4 in 35.1 overs. Sri Lanka looked in total command of the match at this stage.

Sri Lankan captain, Dasun Shanaka came to bat at no.6 for Sri Lanka. Iftikhar again stroke as he dismissed Shanaka (2 off 4) as Nawaz took a brilliant catch at long-on. Sri Lanka were now 222-5 in 37.4 over, requiring another 30 runs in 26 deliveries. Dhananjaya De Silva came to bat at no.7 for Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka kept scoring runs and took the match till the end as they had wickets in hand.

At this stage, Sri Lanka needed 12 runs of 12 deliveries. But Shaheen took the wicket of DDS, after giving away 3 runs off the first 3 deliveries. DDS (5 off 7) was beautifully caught at long-on by Mohammad Waseem. Wellalage came to bat at no.8 for Sri Lanka, who was dismissed by Shaheen on the very first delivery. Wellalage was caught behind by Rizwan for a golden duck. Sri Lanka were now 243-7 in 40.5 overs, requiring another 9 off 7. Madushan came to bat at no.9 for Sri Lanka. A single was taken off the last ball. Sri Lanka now needed 8 runs off the last over to seal their spot in the Asia Cup 2023 Final.

The debutant, Zaman Khan came to bowl the last over. Zaman bowled a full toss which hit Pramod on the pads. Sri Lanka got a leg bye run. Pakistan reviewed but it was impact outside. Pakistan lost the review. Next delivery was a length ball outside off, Asalanka swinged his bat but missed. Next delivery was an off cutter where Asalanka got a thick inside edge. They took a run and the man on strike was now Pramod. Sri Lanka required 6 off 3 now.

On the 4th delivery, Zaman ran out Pramod. Zaman bowled a length delivery as Pramod missed it. Asalanka was quick to run but Pramod (1 off 3) hesitated and was ran out at the non-striker’s end, with a careful direct hit by Zaman Khan. Sri Lanka were now 246-8 in 41.4 overs as they required another 6 off 2 at this moment.

Asalanka was the man on strike as Zaman came to bowl the 5th delivery of the last over of the match. Zaman bowled a Length ball outside off, Asalanka looked to hoick it away across the line, got a thick edge past the keeper, and to the right of short third as the ball went for four. Zaman was on his haunches as he couldn’t believe his luck as what just happened. Sri Lankan crowd was jubilant as they now needed just 2 off the last ball. At this stage, the match could’ve gone either.

Also Read : India seals their spot in the final with a 41 runs victory over Sri Lanka

For the final delivery, the debutant Zaman bowled a slower length ball on the pads, Asalanka got it across and nervelessly clipped it towards the deep square leg fence and punched the air in delight before hugging Pathirana. There was bedlam in the crowd. The Sri Lanka players were out in the middle and hugged Asalanka, who held his nerve and took his team through to the finals. Zaman was heartbroken as he was still in disbelief about that unlucky boundary.

Kusal Mendis was the top scorer for Sri Lanka as he scored a match-winning 91(87), followed by Asalanka with a crucial 49*(47) and Samarawickrama with 48(51).

For Pakistan, Iftikhar was the pick of the bowler with his valiant 3-50. He certainly held the game for Pakistan and didn’t let it slip out of the hands completely as eventually, Pakistan made a comeback. But it wasn’t just enough. Iftikhar was followed by Shaheen with 2-52 and Shadab with 1-55. Mohammad Nawaz was the most economical Pakistani bowler of the day with 0-26 in 7 overs. Zaman Khan on his debut, though wicketless but was exceptional as he gave his best for Pakistan.

Kusal Mendis was declared man of the match for his exceptional 91(87).

Conclusion – Pakistan vs Sri Lanka – Super 4s – Asia Cup 2023 – 14 September 2023

A young and excited Sri Lankan side will be proud of the way they conquered the number 1 ODI side in this virtual semifinal of Asia Cup 2023. Apart from Mendis’s heroics, Asalanka showed great character as Pakistan bounced back in the last moments. Sri Lanka dominated most of the game and rightly deserved to win this thriller. They will be taking on India in the final of Asia Cup 2023 at the same very venue on 17th September 2023.

Pakistan made a remarkable comeback in the end, but it was never enough. Pakistan’s fielding has been extremely poor throughout this tournament as they kept giving away easy runs at crucial stages. That missed run out chance by Mohammad Haris and a drop catch by Mohammad Rizwan played a crucial role in this defeat. Rizwan played a brilliant timely knock, but it was Iftikhar, who gave his best in every department. Shaheen made a come back in the end as was expected of him, but it was the debutant Zaman Khan, who nearly took his team home, but he remained unlucky with that edge.

Pakistan needs to drastically improve their bowling in mid overs as they simply are clueless in those overs. They need to find a spinner who can create not only pressure on the batting team but take wickets as well. Shadab Khan needs to work on his consistency as he has been the weakest link in this bowling lineup. But in the end, that 1 run which was taken off by DLS might also have proved costly. Nevertheless, this tournament might just be the eye opener for Pakistan going forward to the ODI World Cup this year.

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