Technically, Sri Lanka is the host of this Asian Cup but call it a cruel twist of fate, the tournament had to be moved to the United Arab Emirates for security reasons.
It could have been infinitely sweeter had Dasun Shanaka and his men played the final at the iconic Khettarama Stadium (now Premadasa Stadium), but the kind of performance they put up in the Super 4s would have anyone believe that would be anything but easy. on the side of Babar Azam.
Skipper @dasunshanaka1 talks about the big wishes from YOU home! 🤩Use the link below to submit your… https://t.co/QnqqKoMc9k
— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) 1662790865000
From the Asian Cricket Council to the general public in Dubai, everyone wanted an Indo-Pak final, but the island nation’s brave cricketers have earned their right to be in the clash at the top.
And as if that weren’t enough, Friday’s easy victory over their latest opponents was the kind of warning signal that will keep Pakistan on their toes.
But in Dubai, carried by a large Pakistani population at the top of their lungs, the Mohammed Rizwans, Mohammed Nawazs and Naseem Shahs would like to raise their games on the big day, which is a tradition so close to the heritage of their countries over the years. .
But in Sri Lanka they have an opposition that could be more than a handful and a side that have certainly redeemed themselves in a format where they became world champions in 2014.
Sri Lankan cricket’s fortunes have taken a nosedive, as has the country’s ecosystem in general, with poor selection and internal politics within the board not helping their cause either.
The team that Shanaka led during his away streak in India about six months ago had more or less the same group of players, but what Sri Lanka did successfully was change their T20 game plan, which is now filled with aggression.
Even without Dushmantha Chammera, the bowling offense looked powerful, but there is one area where Rahul Dravid and the Indian team could take note of the impact of Sri Lanka’s top five hitters.
Two right-handed fly-half, Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka were positivity personified at the top while Danushka Gunathilaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Shanaka himself and Chamikaatne Karunaratne all made runs that matter.
A case in point is how they chased a 70-odd target against Afghanistan, where none of the hitters scored over 35 but all made those runs at a strike rate of over 150.
In the five games so far, the Sri Lankan batters have hit 28 sixes and 62 fours, giving a story of their approach.
In bowling, Mahesh Theekshana became a powerful spin bowling partner to Wanindu Hasaranga while Dilshan Madhushanka took on the responsibility of pacemaker admirably.
🎥 Words of wisdom from @wasimakramlive for young Dilshan Madushanka. 😍#RoaringForGlory https://t.co/3TdDq5jaBj
— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) 1662782028000
By comparison, Pakistan reached the final, but Babar’s form let them down throughout the tournament. Only 63 points in five games is not something you expect from a player of his caliber.
The skipper would love to sing the song of redemption in the match that matters most.
Pakistan’s strength is their bowling attack which has Naseem Shah showing improvement with each passing day, along with Harris Rauf and Mohammed Hasnain.
The two spinners, bowler Shadab Khan (ER 5.79 and 7 wickets) and orthodox left arm Mohammed Nawaz (ER 6.05 and 8 wickets) were also very impressive.
However, in Dubai it was seen that the draw has become a big factor as Pakistan are not good when they strike first and in the two games they lost in the tournament against India and Sri Lanka, he struck first.
None of the top hitters have a strike rate over 120, especially those who have faced over 50 balls in the tournament. Therefore, Pakistan’s best chance would be to win the coin toss and play first, as Rizwan is always in control when Pakistan chases.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Ashen Bandara, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Chamika Karunaratne, Dilshan Madushanka, Matheesha Pathirana, Nuwanidu Fernando and Dinesh Chandimal
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir, Mohammed Hasnain, Hasan Ali