Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com
It was indeed a team effort that resulted in a young Sri Lankan side becoming Asian champions. Sri Lanka outclassed Pakistan, registering a 23-run win, to ensure their sixth Asia Cup title at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium
‘It was a team effort’, said very proud Sri Lankan coach Chris Silverwood after his side’s victory at the Asian Cup on Sunday.
A lot of moments could be pointed to as the turning point of the final. Some may point out how Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s valiant and unbeaten 45-ball 71 took Sri Lanka from a precarious 67 for five in 10 overs to a commanding 170 for six at the end of the 20 overs. Then again, some may talk about Wanindu Hasaranga’s 17th over, in which he got the scalps of a set Mohammad Rizwan, and the dangerous Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah.
But regardless of all these crucial moments of the game, the one aspect of the Sri Lanka side in the final that made the difference was the discipline shown by Dasun Shanaka’s troops while fielding in the outfield.
Unlike Pakistan, they grabbed everything that was ballooned in the air. They manned the boundary line like brave soldiers, diving for every ball shot their way – determined to not let anything go past them. They rushed in to stop every ball that was played in gaps to deny the Pakistani batters run the extra single.
Sri Lanka took a total of seven catches in the outfield, each with better conviction than the previous and under growing pressure.
Things, however, did not go Sri Lanka’s way at the beginning of the game. In a tournament when ‘win the toss and win the match’ almost became a trend, Shanaka saw the flip of the coin favour Babar Azam.
“I think if any team thinks about the toss, then they are not a champion team. Sri Lanka were that today, they didn’t think of toss. And then they hurt us for our mistakes. They deserved to be champions,” Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan could not deny how Sri Lanka turned the odds in their favour by simply being the better team on all fronts.
“Winning after seven years, It feels so good. One and a half years ago, we were nowhere. Now we are a different team with youngsters. I feel so good,” Sri Lanka pacer Chamika Karunaratne could not hide what the triumph meant for the island nation whose economic and political conditions had hit the nadir.
From starting the tournament with an eight-wicket thumping at the hands of Afghanistan to going on to finally acquiring the bragging rights as the deserved champions of Asia, Sri Lanka went on to prove that, more than anything, more than having a handful of match-winners in the side, all that mattered was to play as a team, just as their coach had said.