Sri Lanka crushed Pakistan by 5 wickets in a typical dress rehearsal Super Four encounter yesterday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium ahead of tomorrow’s grand final of the Asia Cup. Pakistan, put into bat, crashed to 121 in 19.1 overs as Dasun Shanaka’s fired up team blazed its way to 124 for 5 on a superb unbeaten half century by opening batsman Pathum Nissanka in a continuation of their giant killing feat of it’s stranglehold of the 15th edition of Asia’s mega cricketing showpiece.
The Lankans produced a scintillating all-round show with spin wizard Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva wading through the Pakistan line up collecting 3 for 21 including the prize wicket of skipper Babar Azam clean bowling him for 30. Pakistan never recovered from the precipitation of 5 for 91 with the last 5 wickets crashing for 30. It set the Lankans, fiercely dubbed the Lions living up to it by getting home with 18 balls to spare. They overcame an early scare of 3 for 29 as Kusal Mendis and Dhanushka Gunathilaka fell for ducks and Dhananjaya de Silva, who replaced an out of form Charith Asalanka, falling for 9 as Bhanuka Rajapaksa joined Pathum Nissanka in adding 71 for the fourth wicket off just 33 balls. Nissanka showcased the steely effect the right-hander has imbibed upfront to the Lankan batting in their canter to the threshold of a step away from the cup hitting 5 boundaries and a six in a 48-ball cameo. The left-handed Bhanuka Rajapaksa proved to be the lynch pin middle man to the batting with smashing 24 off 19 heightened by sending 2 over the top.
After Rajapaksa’s exit at 80 for 4 skipper Dasun Shanaka joined Nissanka in spurring past the 100-mark. When the Lankan captain departed for a cameo 21 off 16 highlighted by smashing 2 over the top and a boundary Sri Lanka was 113 for 5 after 16.2. It brought Wanindu Hasaranga to speed Sri Lanka to victory pounding 10 off 3 crossing the boundary twice with Pathum Nissanka staying solid to the end. Hasaranga’s all round feat earned him the Player of the Match award. Sri Lanka played fast bowler Liyanagamage who clean bowled the thorny opening batsman Mohammad Rizwan for 14., Maheesh Theekshana, operating the Lankan attack, took 2 for 21, Pramod Madushan Liyanagamage made the
most of the big break taking 2 for 21 off 2.1 overs.
CHIEF SCORES: Pakistan 121 (19.1 Overs) (Babar Azam 30, Mohammad Rizwan 14, Fakhar Zaman 13, Ifthikar Ahmed 13, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 3/21, Maheesh Theekshana 2/21, Pramod Madushan Liyanagamage 2/21, Chamikaamika Karunaratne 1/4) Sri Lanka 124/5 (Pathum Nissanka n.o. 55, Bhanuka Rajapaksa n.o. 24, Dasun Shanaka 21, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva n.o. 10, Haris Rauf 2/19, Mohammad Hasnain 2/21, Usman Qadil 1/34).