Pakistan experienced a devastating loss to Sri Lanka in their last Super 4 match of the 2023 Asia Cup, leading to their exit from the tournament. Facing a must-win game against Sri Lanka, Pakistan staged a remarkable comeback after initially trailing. However, the match concluded with a thrilling finish, with Charith Asalanka’s composed performance securing a dramatic two-wicket victory for Sri Lanka over an injury-ridden Pakistan. The final ball determined the outcome.
In a rain-shortened 42-over Super 4 contest, Sri Lanka needed six runs from the last two deliveries. Asalanka, displaying remarkable composure, sealed the win by first edging a boundary to third man off debutant fast bowler Zaman Khan. Then, he played a crucial shot to square leg, securing two runs and taking Sri Lanka’s final total to 252-8.
This tense victory propelled Sri Lanka into the Asia Cup final against India, scheduled for Sunday. Pakistan captain Babar Azam faced criticism for his leadership during the game, particularly from former India opener Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir questioned Babar’s field placements, citing examples from the final two overs, where he considered the captaincy decisions as subpar.
“For me, extremely ordinary captaincy as well. There was a four hit in Zaman Khan’s over over mid-off and there was another four hit in Shaheen Shah Afridi’s over over mid-off, and both those deliveries were slower ones. If you want to bowl slower ones, keep the mid-off fielder at long-off and bring the third man up. This is extremely simple captaincy. Imagine if you had 13 runs left in the last over, it would have been difficult for Sri Lanka,” Gambhir questioned last two overs approach.
Babar did not use his bowlers well
The cricketer-turned-commentator said that the Pakistan team were allowing the game to drift away from themselves. The former Indian player also expressed dissatisfaction with Babar’s lack of aggressiveness in his decisions, emphasizing that he didn’t utilize players like Shaheen Afridi and Zaman Khan to their full potential.
“You were allowing the game to drift at one stage. You wanted to complete your sixth bowler’s quota. It doesn’t work out like that. When the partnership was developing between Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama, you should have brought on your main bowlers and tried to pick up wickets,” Gambhir concluded.