When the 2022 Asia Cup started, nobody thought that Sri Lanka could go on to win the title. You can’t blame anyone for thinking so as their T20I record leading to this Asia Cup was pretty poor. Sri Lanka had won just 1 out of the 10 T20 internationals they had played prior to the tournament. Yet they went on to turn things around and stunned everyone with their performance. Here, we shall take a look at the key moments that helped them in becoming the Asia Cup Champions for the sixth time.
A tough start against Afghanistan – August 27, 2022
Sri Lanka’s first match of the tournament turned out to be pretty much what everyone expected. They were outclassed by Afghanistan in all departments. The Afghan team first bowled the Lankans out for a paltry total of 105 and then chased the target down with eight wickets and 59 deliveries to spare. Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who made 38 off 29 balls, was the only Sri Lankan batter who looked at ease against the Afghan bowling. Wanindu Hasaranga, on the other hand, turned out to be the only Lankan bowler who caused some trouble to the Afghan batters with a spell of 3-0-1-19 to his name.
Kusal Mendis’ classy 60 powers Sri Lanka to a thrilling win over Bangladesh – September 1, 2022
Having lost the first match of the group stage to Afghanistan, Sri Lanka needed to win against Bangladesh to qualify for the Super 4. Nobody expected them to recover the way they did after their crushing loss in the first match, but the Lankans were determined to stay alive in the tournament. Bangladesh posted a challenging total of 183/7 on the board and looked in the driving seat going into the second innings. But they were not quite prepared for Kusal Mendis’ classy knock as he went on to smash 60 off just 37 deliveries.
Sri Lanka kept losing wickets from one end nut Mendis kept them in the game. Once he got dismissed, the Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka took over and smashed 45 off just 33 deliveries to take them closer. The match went down to the wire and it was tailender Asitha Fernando who did the job for Bangladesh, scoring 10 off just three deliveries in the end.
A Collective batting effort helps them to avenge Group stage loss vs Afghanistan – September 3, 2022
Sri Lanka took on Afghanistan once again in the first match of the Super 4 stage and this time, they didn’t falter. Although Afghanistan challenged them with a target of 176, the Lankans chased that with ease, riding on cameos from Mendis (36), Rajapaksa (33), Danushka Gunathilaka (33) and Hasaranga (16).
Shanaka and his men chased the target down with six wickets and five balls to spare. That was a great effort by the entire team considering how Afghanistan had crushed them in their first meeting.
Dasun Shanaka stuns India as Sri Lanka land the knockout blow on Rohit Sharma and his men – September 6, 2022
Nobody saw this coming. India were the superior team going into this contest and they had dominated in matches against Sri Lanka in the past as well. But that didn’t matter to Sri Lanka as they went on and stunned everyone with a clinical win against the Asian giants.
India posted a total of 173 after being put into bat by Sri Lanka. That was an excellent score to defend but they were put on the backfoot by an excellent batting effort by the Sri Lankan openers, who put on 97 runs for the first wicket. India made a solid comeback with four quick wickets in the space of just 13 runs, but skipper Shanaka rose to the occasion and smashed an unbeaten 33 off just 18 deliveries to power Sri Lanka to the Asia Cup Final. He had also claimed two wickets in the game previously and was deservedly adjudged the Player of the Match as well.
Wanindu Hasaranga leads performance in rehearsal before final showdown against Pakistan – September 9, 2022
Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka had already made their way into the final but they had to meet in a dead rubber in the Super 4 phase before that. That turned out to be a good practice match for Sri Lanka as they outclassed Pakistan in both batting and bowling departments.
It was Wanindu Hasaranga who registered excellent figures of 4-0-21-3 to help in bowling Pakistan out for 121. Later on, he played an useful cameo of 10 off just three deliveries as well to help Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win. Opener Pathum Nissanka also played a crucial role with an unbeaten 55 off 48 deliveries to his name.
Rajapaksa and Hasaranga lead the way for Sri Lanka in the Grand Finale – September 11, 2022
After being put into bat in the final by Pakistan, Sri Lanka found themselves in deep trouble at 58/5. But Bhanuka Rajapaksa rose to the occasion with a brilliant unbeaten knock of 71 off just 45 deliveries to power Sri Lanka to a total of 170/6. He also received good support from Hasaranga who scored 36 off just 21 balls.
While defending the total, they never let Pakistan dominate them. Sri Lanka bowled tightly and kept the pressure on the batters, who lost the plot completely in the second half of their innings. Hasaranga starred once again with figures of 4-0-27-3 to his name. Pacer Pramod Madushan also impressed with figures of 4-0-34-4 as Pakistan got bowled out for 147 runs.
Rajapaksa was adjudged the Player of the Match for his superb knock whereas Hasaranga was named the Player of the Tournament for his consistent performances with both bat and ball.
Sri Lanka winning the Asia Cup Title wasn’t surprising considering how they kept performing after their opening encounter. We also backed them to win the title in our prediction for the final and you can keep following us to get more of such accurate predictions.