Riding their luck after a dismal fielding effort from Pakistan, Sri Lanka managed to post a respectable total of 170/6 in the 2022 Asia Cup final on Sunday, September 11, in Dubai.
Middle-order batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa‘s sensational knock (71* off 45 balls) helped Sri Lanka recover from a difficult situation and reach a decent total.
After being put into bat first, Sri Lanka lost Kusal Mendis off the third delivery for a golden duck to young pacer Naseem Shah. Haris Rauf also joined the act soon after and scalped two more wickets in quick succession to send Pathum Nissanka (8) and Danushka Gunathilaka (1) back to the pavilion.
Dhananjaya de Silva (28) played attacking strokes for a short while but could not sustain momentum much longer. Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan dismissed De Silva and Dasun Shanaka (2) in successive overs to reduce their opponents to 58/5 in 8.5 overs.
Wanindu Hasaranga (36 off 21 balls) and Rajapaksa built a brilliant counter-attacking partnership at this juncture and rescued Sri Lanka from a precarious situation. Haris Rauf dismissed Hasaranga in the 15th over to break the match-defining stand of 58 between him and Bhanuka Rajapaksa.
The southpaw continued in the same vein and provided a strong finish to the innings with lusty strokes in the death overs. Chamika Karunaratne (14*) provided some support to Rajapaksa as the duo put on an unbeaten 54-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
Haris Rauf (3/29) was the top performer for Pakistan in the first innings. Speaking at the mid-innings break, Pakistan pacer Naseem Shah reflected on their bowling effort and said:
“It was a great start for us in the powerplay. Everyone bowled well. We could have got them out for 120-130 but we’ve let them get away with it at the back end. It was seaming and swinging early on but the pitch got better to bat on. The pitch is good to bat on, inshallah our batters will manage to chase the target down.”
Fans react after Pakistan’s poor fielding effort against Sri Lanka in the 2022 Asia Cup final
Cricket fans enjoyed the gripping action that unfolded during the first innings of the contest between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
They took to social media platforms to troll the Pakistan team for their poor fielding efforts by sharing some intriguing memes. Rajapaksa was dropped twice in the space of 10 deliveries at a crucial stage of the match.
Here is a collection of the best memes:
At the time of writing, Pakistan were at a score of 63-2 after nine overs.
Will Pakistan chase down the total and emerge victorious? Sound off in the comments section.