Pakistan were knocked out of Asia Cup 2023 after facing a two-wicket loss (DLS method) in the fifth match of Super 4 stage in the tournament. Chasing 252 to win the match and secure a place in the final, Sri Lanka achieved the target on the last ball of the match. The chief architects with the bat were Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka. Mendis struck a 87-ball 91 while Sadeera scored a terrific 48. Asalanka went unbeaten on 49 and was the one stole the two runs off the last ball to win a cliffhanger for Sri Lanka.
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Pakistan, who were World No 1, at the start of Asia Cup now find themselves out of the tournament. Ironically, replacement pacer Shahnawaz Dahani reached Lanka on the same day they got knocked out. But Pakistan have themselves to be blamed. They made some silly errors in the match and as a result, the match has been lost and campaign brought to an end.
The one mistake that cost Pakistan massively was losing the wicket just before the first rain break after the first innings began. It was the wicket of Mohammad Nawaz. Maheesh Theekshana got rid of him in the 28th over. After Nawaz went back, it began to rain and after a thirty minutes of rain, the game resumed but three more overs had been cut. It had now become a 42-overs-per-side contest. The match had already started as a 45-overs-per-side match due to rain.
How crucial that one run has turned out to be! Had Pakistan not lost Nawaz’s wicket before the rain break, Sri Lanka’s target was gonna be 255. It’s all hindsight but still a good lowdown on how marginal calls can change the course of the game. https://t.co/86TVopLPv8
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) September 14, 2023
After Nawaz’s wicket, Iftikhar Ahmed came in to bat and smashed 47 off 40 balls. With Mohammad Rizwan, who scored unbeaten 80 off 73 balls, at the other end, Pakistan got the stability and eventually put on 252 for 7 in 42 overs.
Sri Lanka came down to chase exactly 252 and not 253. This is what cost Pakistan the match. Sri Lanka had to chase one run less because of Nawaz’s wicket. Had Pakistan not lost Nawaz before rain break, Sri Lanka would be chasing 255. This is how the Duckworth-Lewis method works in ODI cricket.
One does not have control over rain. But during a rain-curtailed game with more chances of rain expected and with dark clouds hovering over, the batters must try and protect their wicket. Nawaz did not do that and eventually cost Pakistan the match.
This is not saying Pakistan did not commit error at other places. But this mistake gets underlined more because of how rain and DLS combined to ruin their chances of qualification.
Sri Lank and India Asia Cup 2023 final fixture is on September 17 and there is a reserve day kept for this clash. Before that, India play Bangladesh in the last match of Super 4 stage on September 15, Friday.