Asia Cup 2022: Pakistan, Lanka look to have the psychological edge before final

Pakistan all-rounder Shadab Khan says the team can ill afford to suffer batting collapses in the future

Pakistan's Shadab Khan. — AP
Pakistan's Shadab Khan. — AP

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Fri 9 Sep 2022, 12:39 AM

While Naseem Shah basked in the glory of his match-winning sixes in the last over against Afghanistan, all-rounder Shadab Khan also played a key role in Pakistan’s one-wicket victory in the low-scoring thriller at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Having helped Pakistan restrict Afghanistan to 129 for six with figures of 4-0-27-1, the 23-year-old leg-spinner needed to come good with the bat after his team got off to a poor start.

Shadab rose to the challenge, mixing caution with aggression during his 26-ball 36 as he shared 42 runs for the fourth wicket with Iftikhar Ahmed.

But he fell to Rashid Khan in the 17th over, opening the floodgates as the Afghans roared back into the contest before Naseem’s mighty blows snatched victory for Pakistan from the jaws of defeat.

Now as Pakistan gear up to face Sri Lanka, their opponents in the DP World Asia Cup final, in the inconsequential Super Four game in Dubai on Friday, Shadab says the team can ill afford to suffer such batting collapses in the future.

Shadab, who has become a key player for Pakistan in the white-ball formats since making his debut in 2017, says it’s important for the team to not lose momentum in matches if they are to become a champion side.

"I think a good team should not suffer a collapse like this in pressure situations, especially I played a rash shot. I was well set and should have finished the match," the all-rounder said after being named man-of-the-match for his all-round effort against the fast-improving Afghanistan.

"Like I said at the start of the tournament, we are a good team but not a champion team and that's what is our goal. Hopefully we will work on this and try not to repeat our mistakes.”

With just a month to go for the start of the T20 World Cup (October 16-November 13) in Australia, Shadab revealed that the Pakistan think tank will continue to give more opportunities to the team’s bowling all-rounders to contribute with the bat.

In the Super Four match against India last Sunday, it was spinner Mohammad Nawaz who was promoted to number four in the batting order with Pakistan struggling in their chase of 183.

Nawaz responded with a match-turning 20-ball 40 to set up Pakistan’s memorable five-wicket win over their bitter rivals.

"Our management has promoted our bowlers to bat a bit because you don't know what situation will come in a game. Our bowlers also have the calibre to finish games with the bat," Shadab said of the Pakistan batting strategy.

The Babar Azam-led side might be tempted to experiment again in the last match of the Super Four stage against Sri Lanka on Friday.

Sri Lanka have made a stirring comeback in the tournament, winning three matches on the trot after their embarrassing defeat to Afghanistan in the tournament opener to reach the final.

Dasun Shanaka’s team would love to keep the momentum going before the all-important final on Sunday.

A victory on Thursday will be important to have the psychological edge when they come out to fight for the trophy in the final on the same ground.


Super Four

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka

Dubai International Cricket Stadium, 6 pm UAE Time


Pakistan: Babar Azam (C), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir.

Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (C), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Ashen Bandara, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Chamika Karunaratne, Dilshan Madushanka, Matheesha Pathirana, Nuwanidu Fernando, Nuwan Thusara, Dinesh Chandimal.


Matches: 21

Pakistan won: 13

Sri Lanka: 8

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