Asia Cup: Five things that can change the game in Sri Lanka-Pakistan finale
Asia Cup 2022, which began last month in August, has now almost reached its culmination with Pakistan and Sri Lanka vying to enrich their trophy cabinet. While this has been a revelation for Sri Lanka in a way that after losing their first game in the tournament, they have not lost a single one since then, Pakistan’s has been a roller-coaster ride.
Before heading into the final, the two teams met each other in a dress rehearsal of a game on Friday, September 09, 2022. Though Sri Lanka won it eventually, it could have been a tight game had Pakistan scored a bit more and held on to difficult chances. Pakistan also played without its main men in Naseem Shah and Shadab Khan and hence final is expected to be more contentious and exciting.
Here are some of the expectations from the finale based on how the tournament has panned out so far. These things could literally change the final
Babar Azam getting back to form
Babar Azam has had a horrid tournament with bat. He has not been able to get going and got out on shots that he would have rather not played even in his nightmares. In five innings so far, Babar has an average of 12.60 with only 63 runs to his kitty. It is expected that Babar’s poor run of form might come to an end, especially after the patient knock of 30 that he played in the last game.
Sensational pace from the Pakistani trio
The Pakistani pace trio of Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain can make the ball talk. Hasnain and Rauf showed it in the first four overs of the last game when they picked three wickets and did not allow the Sri Lankan players to score with ease.
In fact, among the three, they have taken 15 wickets and more importantly, haven’t gone for too many runs early on. They are expected to bowl with the same rhythm in this game as well.
Death by spin from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka had been lacking a third spinner. In Dhananjaya de Silva, they seem to have found one in the last game. Though de Silve was no better than Charith Asalanka (whom he replaced) with the bat, with the ball, he bowled four overs and was very economical. Teamed up with Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana, both of whom bowl at different stages of the game, de Silva becomes a crucial weapon. As they did in the last game, Sri Lanka could choke the Pakistani batters with spin in the middle overs.
Shanaka/ Rajapaksa finishing the game
For Sri Lanka, it has been either Bhanuka Rajapaksa or skipper Dasun Shanaka to the rescue in all the four totals that the team has successfully chased down. Against India, it was the pair of both that did the deal. If Sri Lanka manages to win the toss again and have a decent total to chase, these are the two players to rely on.
So far, Rajapaksa has scored 120 runs at an average of 30 and a strike rate of 144.5. Similarly, Shanaka has scored 105 runs at an average of 27.55 and a strike rate of 141. The stats only reveal that the two can be trusted to score quickly and stay at the wicket for a long time too.
Shadab-Nawaz all-round show
The all-round skills of Mohmmad Nawaz and Shadab Khan have really helped Pakistan progress in Asia Cup 2022. While Shadab batted well in only the game against Afghanistan, he can be handy with the bat all the time. It is the ability of Nawaz with the bat that has come as a surprise to many.
In five games, Nawaz has scored 73 runs including a match-winning 42 against India. He has a strike rate of 158. Nawaz and Shadab have also picked 15 wickets among them at an average of 13 and 12 respectively. Thus this all-round duo could very well spell the doom of Sri Lanka.
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.
Comments are closed.