Asia Cup 2022: Nissanka, Hasaranga set up Lanka win over Pakistan

Opener scores unbeaten half-century, while the leg spinner takes three wickets

Sri Lanka's Pathum Nissanka plays a shot during the Asia Cup match against Pakistan in Dubai on Friday. — AFP
Sri Lanka's Pathum Nissanka plays a shot during the Asia Cup match against Pakistan in Dubai on Friday. — AFP

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Fri 9 Sep 2022, 9:19 PM

Last updated: Fri 9 Sep 2022, 10:41 PM

Sri Lanka will go into Sunday’s DP World Asia Cup final against Pakistan with the psychological upper hand after an impressive five-wicket victory in the inconsequential Super Four clash at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Dasun Shanaka’s team outplayed Pakistan in what was a lop-sided dress rehearsal for the grand finale on the same ground.

Having bowled Pakistan out for a paltry 121, Sri Lanka reached home in 17 overs to record their fourth straight win in the tournament.

With his second straight half-century in the tournament, opener Pathum Nissanka (55 not out off 48 balls) guided the Lankans home despite a spirted challenge from the Pakistan bowlers.

Earlier, Wanindu Hasaranga (4-0-21-3) managed to cast a spell on the Pakistan batsmen with a wonderful display of turn and control.

The leg-spinner broke the back of Pakistan’s middle-order by dismissing Pakistan captain Babar Azam (30), Iftikhar Ahmed (13) and Khushdil Shah (4).

Babar, who failed with the bat in the previous four matches, top-scored with 30, but the Pakistan captain was guilty of not converting his start.

The opener was bowled by Hasaranga after being beaten in flight while going for a big shot.

Hasaranga was well supported by off-spinner Maheesh Theeshana (4-0-21-2) after Sri Lanka captain Shanaka won the toss and elected to bowl.

In the absence of Naseem Shah, who was rested for the match, Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf made a stunning start with the new ball.

Hasnain got Kusal Mendis caught in the slips for a golden duck after the batsman played away from the body and Danushka Gunathilaka’s attempted square cut landed in the hands of wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan off Haris.

When Haris got his second wicket of the match in the form of Dhananjaya de Silva with the Lankans in a bit of trouble at 29 for three, Pakistan saw an opportunity to make some more inroads into the Sri Lanka batting line-up.

But Nissanka remained solid and rebuilt the Lankan innings with Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24) in their 51-run stand for the fourth wicket before steering the team to a highly impressive victory.

Shadab Khan and Naseem Shah were rested for this inconsequential game as Usman Qadir and Hasan Ali got their first matches of the tournament.

Sri Lanka also made two changes with Dhananjaya de Silva replacing Charith Asalanka, and Pramod Madhusan playing in place of Asitha Fernando.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 5 wickets.

Pakistan 121 all out in 19.1 overs (Babar Azam 30, Mohammad Nawaz 26; Hasaranga 3/21, Theeshana 2/21, Pramod Madushan 2/21)

Sri Lanka 124-5 in 17 overs (Pathum Nissanka 55 not out, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 24, Dasun Shanaka 21; Haris Rauf 2/19, Mohammad Hasnain 2/21, Usman Qadir 1/33)

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