File photo of Pakistan cricket team from Asia Cup 2023.© AFP
Kusal Mendis’ 91 and an unbeaten 49 by Charith Asalanka helped Sri Lanka edge out Pakistan by two wickets in a last-ball thriller of the Asia Cup to set up a final clash with India. Chasing a DLS revised target of 252 in the 42-overs-a-side contest in Colombo, Sri Lanka needed eight from the final over and achieved the target with Asalanka’s winning hit on the last ball. A raucous home crowd rejoiced but the result broke the heart of millions of fans awaiting an India-Pakistan final in the 50-over tournament, a prelude to the upcoming ODI World Cup.
The loss also hurt the Pakistan team players, especially their skipper Babar Azam. The team captain’s father Azam Siddique has revealed that Babar was not able to even speak afer Pakistan exit from Asia Cup 2023.
“Salam Pakistan. Pakistan played the whole match with half the players and lost on the last ball with a four of a flock. But in this match, I have been shown a total superstar bowler Zaman Khan, who was bowling very well even in high pressure. Win or lose game. It is a part of the team, but the team played the whole competition despite being in half,” wrote Siddiqui in a post on Instagram in Urdu.
“Inshallah, when everyone is fit in the World Cup, it will be fun to see the competitions. Allah only sees what happens with intention and action from the heart. Whether he accepts it or not, He is my Lord. I think the team has sacrificed their lives. Let’s encourage the team at this time and make their hearts big. This is patriotism. Long live Pakistan. (I just talked to Babar, he was not able to talk. I told him, ‘Braves live or learn.’ Never break), ” he added.
Rohit Sharma’s India face Sri Lanka in Sunday’s Asia Cup final, a crucial momentum-builder heading into next month’s ODI World Cup.
The cricketing giants have 13 Asian titles between them and Sri Lanka have a history of sneaking into the tournament’s final — to the consternation of fans keen for any showdown between arch-rivals India and Pakistan.
(With AFP Inputs)
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