In an epic clash that won’t be forgotten anytime soon and might even manage to find a place in the Sri Lankan folklore, the Dasun Shanaka-led side pipped Pakistan in a Super Four fixture on Thursday, September 14 to fix a meeting in the final with team India.
The match turned out to be a nerve-wracking thriller and saw the six-time champions register victory on the last ball. As it was on the cards, rain did intervene in the match but a 42-overs per side contest still happened after the weather gods showed mercy. The game went right down the wire and the outcome was ultimately decided off the last ball.
The island nation required eight to win the game and confirm a berth in the summit clash. With a set batter batting in the middle in the form of Charith Asalanka and Pramod Madushan (a handy lower order batter) accompanying him, the odds looked in favour of the defending champions.
Pakistan’s skipper Babar Azam tasked the debutant Zaman Khan to get the job done for the team and the youngster looked under the pump right from the outset. The 22-year-old pacer bowled a high full toss and luckily for him, it wasn’t above waist high as the two batters scampered for a single. The second delivery was a length ball outside off and Asalanka failed to put bat to ball.
The Mirpur-born pacer varied his pace on the third ball of the over and Asalanka could only get it away for a single. The fourth delivery resulted in a run out at the non-striker’s end as Aslanka sprinted to the striker’s end after Madushan missed a fullish delivery outside off. Madushan didn’t show the intent to run initially and a direct hit at the bowler’s end caught him short of his ground.
With six needed off two, the pressure was on Asalanka to find a boundary. The southpaw rode his luck and got a fortuitous four after edging a length ball outside of off towards the right of the short third fielder. Sri Lanka had their hopes pinned on Asalanka to score two off the last delivery and the 26-year-old batter showed immense calmness to clip a ball off his pads towards the vacant deep square leg region and took the team home amid an absolutely electric atmosphere at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
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