Asia Cup: Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in final to claim sixth title

Bhanuka Rajapaksa waves to the crowd after finishing 71 not out against Pakistan in the Asia Cup final
Bhanuka Rajapaksa starred in Sri Lanka’s Asia Cup win with 71 not out from 45 balls after they were 58-5
Asia Cup final, Dubai
Sri Lanka 170-6 (20 overs): Rajapaksa 71* (45); Rauf 3-29
Pakistan 147 (20 overs): Rizwan 55 (49); Madushan 4-34
Sri Lanka won by 23 runs

Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 23 runs in the Asia Cup final to secure an unexpected sixth title in Dubai.

Sri Lanka scored 170-6 off their 20 overs, set up by Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s unbeaten 71 from 45 balls.

Mohammad Rizwan scored 55 in Pakistan’s reply but Pramod Madushan took 4-34 to end their hopes.

The win marks a big turnaround for Sri Lanka, coached by former England coach Chris Silverwood, after they lost their opening game to Afghanistan.

Victory looked unlikely when Sri Lanka slipped to 58-5, before Rajapaksa and Wanindu Hasaranga came together.

They added 58 for the sixth wicket as Hasaranga scored 36 from 21 balls to steer them to a challenging total.

Fast bowler Haris Rauf led Pakistan’s bowling attack with 3-29.

Sri Lanka’s bowlers took wickets regularly throughout Pakistan’s chase to restrict their scoring, despite Rizwan’s efforts at the top of the order.

Seamer Madushan took three top-order wickets quickly, while leg-spinner Hasaranga capped a fine all-round performance with figures of 3-27.

“There was always confidence that the team had talent, we just needed a method,” said Silverwood.

“We worked hard and the results are showing. Our young seam attack was superb, but it was a team effort.”

Only India have won more Asia Cup titles than Sri Lanka, with seven victories.

Pre-tournament favourites India failed to reach the final following defeats by Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the Super Four stage.

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