In the final of the Asia Cup held in Dubai, Sri Lanka won an unexpected sixth title by defeating Pakistan by 23 runs. Sri Lanka posted 170-6 in their 20 overs, led by Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s unbeaten 71 off 45 balls. In Pakistan’s reply, Mohammad Rizwan scored 55 runs but Pramod Madhushan took 4-34 to end their hopes.
The win is a major turnaround for Sri Lanka, who were coached by former England coach Chris Silverwood after losing their opening match to Afghanistan.
Victory looked unlikely when Sri Lanka slipped to 58-5 before Rajapakse and Venendu Hasaranga came together.
They added 58 runs for the sixth wicket after Hasringa’s 21-ball 36 took them to a difficult total.
Fast bowler Haris Rauf led Pakistan’s bowling attack with 3-29.
Despite Rizwan’s efforts, the Sri Lankan bowlers took successive wickets from Pakistan to limit their score.
Seemer Madhushan picked up three top-order wickets in quick succession, while leg-spinner Hasringa produced a fine all-round performance with figures of 3-27.
“Always was confident the team had talent, we just needed a way,” Silverwood said.
“We worked hard and the results are coming. Our young seven attacks were outstanding, but it was a team effort.”
Only India has won more Asia Cup titles than Sri Lanka with seven victories.
Pre-tournament favorites India failed to reach the final after losing to Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the Super Four stage.