Asia Cup 2022: From ‘Underdogs’ To Asian Champions – The Story Of Sri Lanka’s Emergence

“I think in T20 cricket anything can happen, we can bounce back in the next match,” said a hollowed-out Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka after his team’s disappointing loss to Afghanistan in the 2022 Asia Cup opener. the side written off after the loss. Frankly, they weren’t among the favorites to win the tournament either. Regardless of the talks, the group believed in its ability – so much so that it eventually won the 2022 Asian Cup – its 6th title – beating teams like India and Pakistan, who were considered favorites, along the way. to glory.

A forgettable beginning

At first, it seemed that the 2022 Asian Cup was not meant for Sri Lanka. The tournament, which would have taken place on their own soil, was moved to the UAE due to the island’s unprecedented economic crisis.

To compound the injury, the Lankans lost their opening game to Afghanistan by 8 wickets. Their batters failed miserably and were bundled up for 105. To make things even more painful for Sri Lanka, Afghanistan reached home in just 10.1 overs. Disappointment was at its peak for the then five-time Asia Cup champions, but their faith turned the tables for them.

The comeback and rise to glory

Sri Lanka defeated Bangladesh in a tense chase to participate in the 2022 Asian Cup Super 4. A thrilling victory that looked like a blue moon to the Lankans quickly became their style of play in the tournament.

Sri Lanka avenged their loss to Afghanistan with a four-wicket win in the Super 4 before beating a 6-wicket shock to favorites India. They even beat Pakistan before meeting the side in the final.

A sensational comeback story was in the works, but Dasun Shanaka and his company had one last hurdle to make it all count and here came the final!


While their compatriots were still suffering from the economic crisis at home, here was the Sri Lankan team at the Dubai International Stadium, all set for the top match against Pakistan. A win could have given their country something to look forward to during the difficult time and would also brighten the spirit of the team, which has struggled with its achievements in the recent past.

It’s not that Sri Lanka hadn’t stunned their opponents for this. Be it Australia or Pakistan in the recent past, even the best in business have been on the receiving end of Sri Lanka’s genius. But consistency had long been the side’s worst enemy. This time, however, they had a different story to tell.

Pakistani skipper Babar Azam won the toss and invited Sri Lanka to bat first. The Dasun Shanaka-led squad that had won all its matches in the tournament during the chase had no choice but to set a goal for Pakistan under the famous “Ring of Fire”.

Sri Lanka was 58/5 in 8.5 overs and again many would have written them off. But how could this alarm a team that had entered the 2022 Asian Cup final against all odds.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa (71 not out on 55) played a blind spot for Sri Lanka and the bowlers put in their work in the second innings to take a 23-run victory for the squad, taking it to a 6th Asia Cup title.


“It can happen to any team in the world,” Dasun Shanaka spoke again of the loss to Afghanistan, but this time the tables were turned for him and his men.

“It happened for good reason. We had serious discussions after that game. Everyone did well for us and that’s how we became champions,” concluded the confident Sri Lanka skipper with a beautiful comeback story that will be around for a long time to come. .

In the words of Jim George, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that matters!”

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