Home Cricket Asia Cup 2022 Spinners, Nissanka guide Lanka to victory over Pakistan

Spinners, Nissanka guide Lanka to victory over Pakistan

Spinners, Nissanka guide Lanka to victory over Pakistan
Asia Cup 2022: Spinners, Nissanka lead Sri Lanka to 5-wicket win over Pakistan (Ld).

A solid performance by Sri Lanka’s spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana, followed by a swashbuckling half-century by Pathum Nissanka (55 not out off 48) ensured Sri Lanka a five-wicket win over Pakistan in their last Super Four match of the Asia Cup 2022 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan will clash in the tournament final on September 11 after India and Afghanistan bowed out. The match was considered a dress rehearsal for both sides ahead of the title clash.

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Wanindu Hasaranga (3/21) and Maheesh Theekshana (2/21) bowled excellent spells to dismiss Pakistan for a meagre 121 in 19.1 overs. Pramod Madushan (2/21), Chamika Karunaratne (1/4) and Dhananjaya de Silva (1/18) chipped in with a few wickets to ensure their opponents were unable to go for big runs.

Needing only 122 at a touch over six runs per over, Sri Lanka got off to a nightmarish start, losing three wickets in the powerplay alone. Openers Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka fell to Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf respectively.

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Dhananjaya de Silva was then dismissed by Rauf, leaving Sri Lanka in trouble at 29-3 after 5 overs.

However, Pathum Nissanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa steading the Lankan innings and played the spinners well in the middle overs to stitch a 51-run stand for the fourth wicket.

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But Rajapaksa, who had hit a couple of sixes off Usman Qadir, found a fielder while trying to play another big shot over mid-wicket, falling for 24.

Sri Lanka then required 42 from 51 balls before Nissanka completed his half century to take his team closer to a win. He received support from captain Dasun Shanaka, who smashed a quickfire 16-ball 21. Shanaka, however, fell with Sri Lanka needing less than 10 runs to win.

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Sri Lanka’s next batter Wanindu Hasaranga (10 off 3) then smashed two boundaries in three balls and along with Nissanka, guided the island nation to victory in 17 overs, with five wickets to spare. Haris Rauf (2/19), Mohammad Hasnain (2/21), Usman Qadir (1/34) were the wicket-takers for Pakistan.

Earlier, aside from Babar Azam (30) and Mohammad Nawaz (26), none of the other Pakistan batters were unable to get going as Sri Lanka’s spinners appeared difficult to tackle.

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