With a 23-run victory over Pakistan, the Sri Lankan team registered a memorable triumph as they lifted the Asia Cup 2022 title in Dubai on Sunday (September 11).
Overcoming various on and off-field travails, Sri Lanka showed an extraordinary level of resurgence throughout the tournament. Following their humbling defeat in the opening game, the Dasun Shanaka-led side went on a five-match winning spree in order to get their hands on the silverware.
After being put in to bat first, Sri Lanka faced initial setbacks. They had just 58 runs on the board when half of their side went back to the pavilion. However, with a top-quality knock of 71* from 45 by Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka powered their way to a score of 170 in their 20 overs.
Wanindu Hasaranga (36 off 21) too played a crucial cameo in the innings which shifted the momentum in Sri Lanka’s favor.
Chasing 171, Pakistan were plagued by regular fall of wickets as only Mohammad Rizwan could play a substantial innings, of 55. Though Rizwan did hold one end up, other Pakistani batters failed to come good when it mattered most.
Left-arm pacer Dilshan Madushanka took four wickets while Hasaranga inflicted three vital blows in a single over. As a result, Pakistan were restricted to 147 in their task.
Due to his superlative unbeaten 71, Rajapaksa was adjudged as the Player of the Match, while Hasaranga, who took nine wickets in the competition, was awarded the Player of the Tournament award.
The high-octane finale saw several milestones being created and broken. For starters, the Asia Cup 2022 win has taken Sri Lanka’s Asia Cup tally to six, just one behind India’s record of seven titles.
On that note, let’s take a look at three other records that were broken during Sri Lanka’s emphatic win over Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2022 final.
#1 Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s 71* is the highest individual score by a batsman at No. 4 or lower in a T20I final
Bhanuka Rajapaksa played a gem of an inning in the final against Pakistan [Pic Credit: Getty Images]
Bhanuka Rajapaksa played a match-winning innings on the night of the final and proved to be a cornerstone for his side’s success.
Rajapaksa overcame an early collapse for Sri Lanka and clobbered six boundaries and three maximums en route to his score of 71* off 45 balls. This is now the highest individual score in a T20I final game by a player batting at No. 4 or lower.
#2 Sri Lanka now have most wins in Asia Cup
The Lankan side now have most victories in Asia Cup’s history
With a thumping 23-run win in the final, the Sri Lankan team registered their 40th win in the history of the Asia Cup. This is the most by any nation in the tournament, surpassing India’s record of 39.
While India have played 59 matches in the competition’s history, it took 61 games for Sri Lanka to reach the landmark.
However, the majority of these games were played in the ODI format, which has been used for all save the 2016 and this year’s editions of the event.
Interestingly, Sri Lanka were also the team who won the inaugural game of the first-ever Asia Cup when they defeated Pakistan by five wickets in 1984.
#3 Sri Lanka are the first team to successfully defend a total in a men’s World Cup or Asia Cup final since 2012
The team batting first has won a final in a major tournament of T20I or ODI cricket after a long time
As many as 26 of the last 30 T20I games played in Dubai saw teams who bat second win the match. So when Sri Lanka lost the toss and were invited to bat first on Sunday, they required a valorous effort to outdo Pakistan.
That’s exactly what they did when they put up a challenging total of 170 before bundling out their opposition for 147.
Tellingly, this is only the first instance of a men’s World Cup (including both 50 and 20-over formats) or an Asia Cup final in the last 10 years when a team has successfully defended their first innings score.
The last time a nation managed to defend their first innings score in a World Cup final or an Asia Cup final was when the West Indies defeated Sri Lanka in the 2012 World T20 final, in Colombo. The Caribbean side managed to win despite scoring just 137 from their 20 overs.