The Sri Lankan cricket team produced some scintillating cricket and won the sixth Asia Cup as they defeated Pakistan by 23 runs in the final in Dubai on Sunday.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s batting masterclass and Wanindu Hasaranga’s all-round brilliance secured their victory.
It was their fifth T20I win on the trot.
Sri Lanka were asked to bat first by Babar Azam after the latter won the toss at the start of the match.
Naseem Shah began with a bang by uprooting Kusal Mendis’s off-stump with the third delivery of the day.
Next, Haris Rauf removed Pathum Nissanka and Danushka Gunathilaka in successive overs.
Iftikhar Ahmed also got into the act by taking a sharp return catch to cut short Dhananjaya de Silva’s knock of 28.
Sri Lanka were reeling at 58-5 in the ninth over after their top order wilted early.
That’s when Hasaranga (36) combined with Rajapaksa to sculpt an invaluable partnership of 58 runs from 36 balls.
Rauf (3-29) removed Hasaranga but Rajapaksa continued to bat aggressively, smashing three sixes and six fours.
Thanks to his 45-ball blitz, Sri Lanka plundered 103 runs from the last 10 overs.
Finally, Sri Lanka finished with 170/6 in 20 overs.
In reply, Pakistan were never in the chase losing early wickets.
Pramod Madushan did the early damage claiming two wickets in two balls to rock Pakistan.
Babar Azam was caught at short fine leg, while Fakhar Zaman dragged the next ball onto his stumps.
Mohammad Rizwan (55) and Iftikhar Ahmed gave some hope with a 71-run third wicket stand.
However once the partnership was broken, Sri Lanka were on top again.
Madushan returned to dismiss Iftikhar (32) to derail the Pakistani fight back.
Hasaranga continued Madushan’s good work by dismissing the dangerous Rizwan, Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah in the same over.
Hasaranga’s three-wicket burst effectively ended Pakistan’s chances of bagging the trophy.
Pramod Madushan also claimed a career-best 4-34 to bowl out Pakistan for 147 in exactly 20 overs.
Sri Lanka 170 for 6 (Rajapaksa 71*, Rauf 3-29) beat Pakistan 147 all out (Rizwan 55, Madushan 4-34, Hasaranga 3-27) by 23 runs