Asia Cup: Hasaranga the hero as Lanka thrash Pak in dress rehearsal before final

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Wherever Pakistan gazed, they may see the beaming, laid-back Wanindu Hasaranga. He teased them with the ball, choosing three wickets – these of Babar Azam, Khushdil Shah and Ifthikar Ahmed; he pocketed two composed catches close to the boundary rope; hatched the run-out of Mohammad Nawaz with a bullet throw, after which wrapped up the chase of 122 with a 4, a brace, and one other 4.

When he arrived at the crease, at the fall of the fifth wicket, Pathum Nissanka had soaked the stress with an unflustered 55. But the Asia Cup has witnessed weird collapses and brain-fades. Hasaranga ensured there was none. He is Sri Lanka’s Mr Reliable, with the ball, on the area and as a finisher. Perhaps as a frontrunner of their assault too, at all times feeding inputs to the bowlers, not simply spinners however seamers too.

Whenever the match appeared to slide from Sri Lanka’s grasp, there was Hasaranga. After the Powerplay choke, he strangled Pakistan. Then once they started to launch strain round the tenth over, he stored his cool to snaffle Fakhar Zaman close to the deep midwicket boundary. Then he deliciously beat an onrushing Babar Azam in flight to have him bowled, ending a laborious 30 off 29 balls, before slicing by means of the center order.

Hasaranga had ample help from Dhananjaya de Silva and Maheesh Theekshana. The assortment of their variations confounded Pakistan’s batsmen, who have been ponderous and pensive. Hasaranga would befuddle them with alterations in tempo, flight, angles, trajectory and variations, specifically the customary leg-break and mistaken’un.
Theekshana traded in his carrom ball, reverse carrom ball and in-swinging seam-up balls. De Silva doesn’t possess any of the specialists’ variations, however was impeccably correct along with his lengths and contours.

The seamers too provided their help, as the Pakistan innings by no means discovered any impetus. In the first 5 overs, they may discover the rope simply as soon as. By the tenth over, they may add simply three extra fours to the tally. That they nonetheless maintained a run price of seven at that time owed to the Lankan bowlers’ line-straying tendencies, conceding as many as 15 wides and 17 extras total (the third-highest supply of runs after Babar’s 30 and Nawaz’s 26). And they may muster solely 121.

Opening salvos

But two early wickets infused hopes of a low-scoring thriller like the Afghanistan versus Pakistan encounter. Off the second ball of Sri Lanka’s chase, Mohammad Hasnain extracted additional carry and bounce off a tough size to snare a nick from Kusal Mendis, who was seeking to drive the ball on the back-foot. An instinctive stroke, and although he tried to alter the stroke, the tempo of the ball denied any wriggle room. Sri Lanka have been 1 for 1, before they stumbled to 2 for two, when Haris Rauf had Danushka Gunathilaka caught behind. The ball was a staple loosener, quick and broad however Gunathilaka couldn’t management his supposed higher minimize, additional bounce the cause, as the Sri Lankan batsman solely succeeded in stretching the sinews of the lunging Mohammad Rizwan.

Joy was again on the faces of Pakistan fanatics —supporters of each groups had turned up in hoards to cheer for the groups locked in nothing greater than a dress rehearsal for the final. When the voice dropped, Pakistan gamers would urge them to ratchet up the decibels. In the center, they doubled their depth and hostility, Babar set aggressive fields, his bowlers sensed a kill. The Sri Lankan followers had sequestered right into a shell, their voices muted, their worst fears flaring. Just then, Nissanka muscled three fours, his accomplice de Silva creamed a pull off Rauf. The mini counterpunch noticed Sri Lanka race to 29, whereupon de Silva perished to Rauf’s thunderbolt that clocked 146 kph. He was seeking to work him down the leg-side however the ball arrived too quick to spoon a straightforward catch.

At 29 for 3, the match was once more on a knife’s edge. Pakistan have been going for the jugular — defending the meagre complete was inconceivable, however bundling out Sri Lanka was attainable. But Nissanka launched a rasping counterattack. With Bhanuka Rajapaksa, he re-snatched Sri Lanka’s ascendancy with a 51-run stand. Rajapaksa continued along with his uninhibited methods with a few beefy sixes off Usman Qadir. The first was a murderous slog-sweep, the second an excellent pull when the rusty Qadir, taking part in his first recreation of the match, dragged one quick. Nissanka made Qadir’s evening all the extra nightmarish when he ran down the pitch and disdained him over deep midwicket.

Sri Lanka’s plan was easy — play the harmful Nawaz out on a sleepy floor and goal Qadir. The facile goal afforded them this liberty, and by this time the required run price had dropped to under 5. Though Qadir did atone with Rajapaksa’s wicket, the match drifted away from them. No time for a heist or Houdini. And without a lot fuss, Lanka overhauled the goal with 5 wickets in hand. At that time too, there was that man, Hasaranga, delivering one other knockout blow. This time a killer blow.

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