Key Takeaways From Sri Lanka Cricket Team's Comprehensive Win Over Pakistan Cricket Team In The 2022 Asian Cup Final
Going into the encounter, both the teams had qualified for the Asia Cup 2022 final after winning their first two games of the Super 4 phase.
As a result of the victory, the Sri Lanka cricket team finished top of the Super 4 group with the Pakistan cricket team being runner-up.
The five-time Asia Cup 2022 champions won the toss and elected to bowl first. Pakistan cricket team captain Babar Azam made two changes to the side that edged past Afghanistan in the second Super 4 game.
Usman Qadir and Hassan Ali came into the lineup for the Greens in place of Naseem Shah and Shadab Khan. The two-time Asia Cup 2022 champions never got going and were bowled out for 121 runs in 19.1 overs.
Despite the early setback, the Sri Lanka cricket team was able to recover thanks to brilliant innings by Nissanka. They were able to complete the run-chase with three overs to spare.
Babar Azam's poor Asia Cup 2022 final continues
When you saw how Virat Kohli performed the other day for India, you would expect a similar sort of batting display from Azam. However, the Pakistani captain has simply not delivered in this year's Asia Cup.
The Karachi Kings captain has scored just 63 runs so far in this tournament. Despite starting off well in today's game, the right-handed batsman wasn't able to take advantage. He scored 30 off 29 balls before being bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga.
Azam has also relinquished his top spot in the ICC T20 batsman rankings to his opening partner Mohammad Rizwan. With the way he has performed in the past couple of years, this tournament has been surprising in terms of his standards.
The good thing is that there is still a match left for him in this year's Asia Cup. Once the Asia Cup is over, he has got the build-up to the World T20. Therefore, the matches are coming thick and fast and it is a perfect opportunity for him to get back in the runs.
If he returns to form in the upcoming matches, you can say that these few matches were nothing but a blip. However, things haven't been going great for Azam so far in this tournament and the poor run continues.
Sri Lankan Cricket Team spinners weave their magic
If you look at the way in which Sri Lankan spinners bowled, you may have thought that you were watching the old videos of Muttiah Muralitharan bowling. Hasaranga was the pick of the bowlers as he picked up three wickets and went for only 21 runs.
He was supported by Maheesh Theekshana, who chipped in with two wickets of his own. Dhananjaya de Silva was the most economical out of all the Sri Lankan spinners as he gave away only 18 runs in his four overs and took one wicket.
It is quite encouraging how Sri Lankan spinners have managed to change their reputation after going for a lot of runs against India in their previous game. The Sri Lankan spinners would definitely be a huge factor in the Asia Cup final in two days' time.
The consistently inconsistent Pakistan Cricket Team batting order
If we look at the way in which Pakistan has batted in this year's Asia Cup, we will struggle to understand how they have made it to the Asia Cup final. If it wasn't for their bowlers, you can make a case of them struggling to get out of the group.
Ironically, it was actually a bowler in Naseem Shah who had to deliver with the bat against Afghanistan to secure their spot in the final. In the first group game against India, the two-time champions got restricted to just 147 runs.
After this poor batting display, we did see an improvement in the Hong Kong game when the Greens put on a mammoth first-innings score of 193 runs.
In their first Super 4 game against India, Pakistan chased 182 runs. This was also their highest run-chase against the Blues in the T20 format.
In the second game, their batting crumbled once again. After restricting Afghanistan to just 129 runs in 20 overs, Pakistan survived by the skin of its teeth thanks to Shah's brilliance.
We have talked a lot about Azam's poor form, but Fakhar Zaman hasn't got going either. After Azam and Rizwan, it is almost as if the rest of the batting side is either a hit or miss on their day.
They can perform really well like Nawaz did against India or Shadab did against Afghanistan, and there can be performances like today when nobody turns up.
So the question is how long will they get away with their batting inconsistency? If they bat like this against Sri Lanka, the match will never be in doubt like it was for most parts today.
Is it because of the lack of T20 matches? Is it because it is just a blip? The answers are for Azam and the Pakistan management to answer.
However, they cannot be considered contenders for the upcoming World T20 based on this batting display.
A Pathum Nissanka masterclass
Sri Lanka's story from being battered and bruised against Afghanistan to going unbeaten until the Asia Cup final has been quite phenomenal. One of the reasons behind this incredible run is Nissanka.
Just like today, the 24-year-old delivered when the team was under pressure. It wasn't easy for him in the start right when he saw wickets tumbling on the other end.
Mohammad Hasnain got rid of Kusal Mendis whereas Haris Rauf removed Danushka Gunathilaka.
The right-handed batsman was calm and collected as he scored a fantastic 55 runs off 48 balls. He was ideally supported by Bhanuka Rajapaksa and captain Dasun Shanaka, who scored 24 and 21 runs respectively.
Nissanka didn't have many balls to attack in the first few overs as Pakistani bowlers were phenomenal. However, the attacking onslaught started after Hassan Ali was brought into the attack.
As the right-arm fast bowler hasn't played any cricket so far in this Asia Cup, Nissanka took full advantage and dispatched Ali to all parts of the ground.
In other words, Nissanka simply did what Pakistani batters couldn't. When the wickets were tumbling for Pakistan, they never tried to take on the Sri Lankan bowling attack.
However, the 24-year-old opener was magnificent as he never allowed the required run rate to increase that much. Once he started scoring runs, his partners contributed as well.
If he can perform like this in the Asia Cup final, he will surely take the five-time champions home with the trophy.
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