Asia Cup: Sri Lanka grabs the cup for the sixth time

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In Dubai, Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan by a margin of 23 runs to win the Asia Cup for the sixth time. Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s (71* off 45) and Wanindu Hasaranga’s (36 off 21) counter-attacking batting performance, which raised Sri Lanka from 58/5 and set Pakistan a target of 171, proved to be too much for Babar Azam and company on sunday evening. For the first time since April 2014, Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup with five straight wins after being bowling Pakistan out for 147 in 20 overs in the finale clash.

Babar Azam and company had a strong chance after winning the toss, but Rajapaksa’s methodical attack in the final four overs resulted in 50 runs being scored.

Before Rajapaksa struck one of his best fifties considering the situation his team was in, young Naseem Shah (1/40 in 4 overs) and the amazingly Haris Rauf (3/29 in 4 overs) bowled with a lot of pace and fire, breaking the backbone of the Lankan batting in the Powerplay overs.

Shadab Khan, the leg-spinner (1/28 in 4 overs), continued the Pakistani team’s tradition of spectacular consistency throughout the competition.

However, after Sri Lanka was left panting for air at 58 for 5, Rajapaksa (71 of 45 balls) and Wanindu Hasaranga (36 off 21 balls) quickly added 58 runs.

Sri Lanka passed the 160-run threshold thanks to another 54-run stand with Chamika Karunaratne.

As it pitched back of length but moved in swiftly, Shah, the 19-year-old pace wonder bowled one of the most deadly off-cutters seen in this tournament, giving in-form Kusal Mendis (0) no time to put his bat down.

Pakistan made a strong start in their chase of 171 and were 20/0 after three overs. But when Pramod Madushan entered, the situation changed drastically. He dismissed Babar first, then Fakhar Zaman was bowled out with the very next delivery.

Despite holding one end up, Rizwan struggled to reach 55 off as many as 49 deliveries. Then, Hasaranga came back to remove Khushdil, Rizwan, and Asif in the same over. After that, Pakistan was unable to recover and lost both the game and the championship by 23 runs.