Pak vs SL: Sri Lanka to meet India in Asia Cup final after nervy last-over finish

Asalanka's 49 and Mendis's 90 prove instrumental as Sri Lanka clinch a thrilling victory over Pakistan.
Published September 14, 2023

Sri Lanka cruised to the Asia Cup final, securing a two-wicket victory in a last-ball thriller while successfully chasing down the 253-run target against Pakistan at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday.


The determined Sri Lankan side staged a dramatic comeback, securing a thrilling two-wicket victory while chasing a 253-run target in the rain-affected 42-over match. Kusal Mendis led the charge with an impressive 92 runs, while Sadeera Samarawickrama contributed with a quick 48 off 51 balls.

Among the Pakistani bowlers, part-time spinner Iftikhar Ahmed shone, taking three wickets, while Shaheen Shah Afridi managed two wickets in the final overs, and Shadab Khan dismissed one batsman.

Sri Lanka maintained momentum during the early overs, sustaining a required run rate of six runs per over to reach their target. Despite late wickets, Pakistan couldn’t break through the resilient Sri Lankan lineup. In the end, it was the nerve and determination of the last-standing man, Charith Asalanka, who remained unbeaten on 49 and guided his team to the finals.

Sri Lanka’s innings

Overs 41-42

A nail-biting finish as the Lankans side got over the line scoring 8 runs in the last over.

An unlucky edge took the fifth ball from the over to the boundary after Zaman had dismissed Pramod on the previous delivery. A double was needed from the last ball which the two batters completed after Asalanka clipped it towards midwicket for the victory.

Overs 36-40

Iftikhar dismissed Mendis on the first delivery from the 36th over. The ball spun sharply and the Lankan batter edged it to the covers with Haris holding onto a much-awaited wicket for the Green Team. Six runs came from it as Asalanka and the skipper, Shanaka, started the chase again for the home side.

Shaheen gave 3 runs in the 37th over as he was brought back into the attack by Babar. A good over from Afridi as the hosts tried to choke the two new batters at the crease by drying up runs. Iftikhar gave five runs in the 38th over and dismissed the Lankan skipper, Shanaka, on the fourth ball of the over. as Nawaz held onto a really good catch at the boundary.

Shaheen was dispatched by Asalanka for a boundary over his head. The pacer went for eight runs in the 39th over as the Lankan side needed 20 from 18 deliveries. Zaman was brought into the attack to bowl the 40th over. Asalanka freed his arms to bring up the 40th boundary of the match. The pacers leaked 8 runs as the Lankan side needed 12 from 12 balls.

Overs 31-35

Zaman was brought into the attack to bowl his fourth over as Pakistan tried to restrict the Lankan chase. The pacer gave eight runs as he was dispatched for a boundary by Mendis on the last bowl of the over. Iftikhar was dispatched for a six as he started 32nd over.

A single kept the Lankan chase on course to end the over with seven runs. Shadab gave only two runs as he was called into the attack by the skipper. Babar trying to experiment with all the bowlers to stop the Lankan chase. Iftikhar proved to be expensive in the 34th over as the spinner gave away 12 runs. He was dispatched for a six on the last ball of the over by Kusal Mendis who moved his scores into the 90s.

It has been a masterclass in chase from the Lankan top-order batter. Shadab bowled back-to-back good overs as the leggie gave away two runs. The Lankan’s chase reached 210 for the loss of three wickets after 35 overs.

Overs 26-30

Shaheen was brought back into the attack by the skipper to break the Lankan partnership. Five runs were conceded from the over as Lankans kept the score ticking. Shadab was also brought from the other end as the leggie has previously proved to be a wicket-taker for the hosts.

The flow of runs from the batters in the forms of singles and doubles as the pair accumulated six from Shadab’s sixth over. Shaheen was sent to the boundary by Mendis on the third ball of the over as the pacer tried to bowl full. Shaheen ended the 28th over after giving seven runs in the over.

Shadab was dispatched for eight runs in his seventh over. Sadeera was dismissed as Rizwan took the bails off after the Lankan batter came down the pitch against Iftikhar in the 30th over. Four runs came from the over as Lankans ended Iftikhar’s fourth with 179 for the loss of three wickets.

Overs 21-25

Wasim bowled the 21st over as the Lankan march continued. Eight runs came from the over as Mendis completed his half-century, the third of the tournament for the Lankan batter. Iftikhar bowled a very 22nd over as the off-spinner was kept in the attack by the skipper.

Nawaz replaced Wasim as spinners started to get some purchase from the surface. The score kept ticking for the Lankan side as they accumulated four runs from the 23rd over. Iftikhar bowled the 24th over as the part-time off-spinner stayed in the attack for the Green Team.

He was dispatched for a boundary on the fifth ball of the over that released some pressure. Nawaz only conceded four from his seventh over to finish the first 25 overs of the Lankan innings. Pakistan tried to put pressure on the two Lankan batters as the home side’s chase reached 149 for the loss of two wickets.

Overs 16-20

Shadab bowled three dot balls at the start of the 16th over. Two doubles and three from a well-saved boundary by a combined effort of Shaheen and Nawaz leaked seven runs in over. Nawaz continued from the other end and bowled a rood 17th over.

A single game came from it as Nawaz finished his fifth over. The hosts tried to build pressure on the home side. The pressure was released in the next over as Shadab went for three boundaries in the 18th over. Shadab leaked runs again as the leggie struggled to keep consistent length.

Babar brought Wasim Junior back into the attack to bowl the 19th over. Both Sri Lankan batters rotated the strike on loose deliveries from the pacer as they kept the score ticking. 5 runs came from it to end the 19th over.

Iftikhar replaced Shadab for the 20th over and the Lankan batters scored 8 runs from it, a run on every ball. Mendis and Sadeera settled in for the chase as the Lankans tally reached 124 for the loss of two wickets after 20 overs.

Overs 11-15

Nawaz conceded three runs in the 11th over from three singles as Pakistan tried to dry up the runs for the Lankan side. Shadab continued from the other end and gave five runs in the 12th over. Sri Lanka ticked around the score as they completed 70 runs.

A boundary came from Nawaz’s third as Mendis lofted the off-spinner for a boundary over extra cover. Three singles from it ended the over with Nawaz giving 7 runs. Shadab dismissed Nissanka after he held onto a mistimed shot from the Lankan batter.

Shadab Khan (C) celebrates with Babar Azam (L) after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Pathum Nissanka (not in pictured) during the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four match at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday. — AFP
Shadab Khan (C) celebrates with Babar Azam (L) after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Pathum Nissanka (not in pictured) during the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four match at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday. — AFP

He was then pulled by Sadeera on the right-handers first delivery in front of short midwicket. Two more singles came from the over to end the 14th over for six runs and a wicket. Nawaz’s fourth over ended the 15th for the Lankan innings at 89 for the loss of two wickets. A single from each ball ended the over giving away six runs.

Overs 6-10

Zaman came back strongly in his third over as the pacer gave only four runs in the sixth over. The pacer was trying to find his feet in his debut ODI. Shaheen was whipped through the midwicket as the pacer continued his fourth over.

A wide and a double ended the seventh over with seven runs. Wasim Junior was expensive in his first over as the pacer for dispatched for three boundaries as Nissanka and Mendis upped the ante for the home side. 13 runs came from the first over of Wasim Junior.

Nawaz bowled a really good first over contrary to Wasim. A single came from it to end the night over of the Lankan innings. Shadab was brought into the attack by the skipper to bowl the tenth over. The leggie gave five runs in his first over which brought the Lankan score to 62 for the loss of one wicket after 10 overs.

Overs 1-5

Kusal Perera struck a boundary against Shaheen Shah Afridi on the fourth delivery of Sri Lanka’s inaugural over. Following up, he drove a powerful shot over mid-off for another four, concluding the first over with a total of 11 runs. Fakhar Zaman, in his ODI bowling debut, delivered a maiden over showcasing a variety of lengths.

Marking his return to ODIs after a two-year hiatus, Perera aggressively pursued Shaheen in the latter’s second over, sending the ball over midwicket for a boundary. A single off the next ball rotated the strike, with Shaheen holding the batters to four dot balls to end the third over at 16 for no loss. Zaman’s initiation continued to be challenging, with Perera hitting the first ball of the fourth over for a boundary. However, Pakistan secured the vital wicket of Perera through a run-out executed on the subsequent ball, ending Perera’s innings at 17 runs, courtesy of an exceptional throw from Shadab.

Nissanka took up the mantle from the other end, smashing Zaman for two additional boundaries in the fourth over. With the threat of rain looming, Sri Lanka aimed to surpass the DLS score. Shaheen’s fifth over saw Sri Lanka advance their score to 32 for the loss of one wicket, featuring five dot balls and a boundary.

Pakistan’s innings

Overs 36-42

Theekshana hobbled off the pitch as Pathirana was brought into the attack. A cautious display from the two batters ended the over with only eight runs, a run on every ball. Pathirana ended the 36th over with Pakistan’s tally at 192 for the loss of five wickets. Theekshana came onto the crease to bowl his eighth over. The spinner gave only five runs as Sri Lanka tried to hold down the Green Team’s effort. The pressure on the batters was released in the 38th over as both of them sent Pathirana to the covers for four.

Three singles and a wide brought 12 from the over as Pakistan crossed the 200 mark. Theekshana continued from the other end to try and restrict Pakistan, however, the spinner, exactly like the pacer in the previous over, was dispatched for a boundary over the roped by both the batters. Four singles from it ended the 39th over with 12 runs from it.

Good batting from the pair continued in the 40th over as Pakistan grabbed 14 runs from it. A 90m six from Iftikhar from the last ball of the over which had given 8 runs in the first 5 deliveries ended the over with Pakistan’s tally at 235 for the loss of five wickets. Iftikhar was dismissed by a slower delivery from Pathirana on the third ball of the 41st over.

A miss hit chipped to extra cover ended a well-fought 47 for Iftikhar. Six runs from it ended the 41st over for Pakistan with the tally at 242 for the loss of six. Shadab was then dismissed in the last over of Pakistan’s innings as the leggie edged it to the wicketkeeper. 10 runs came from it to bring Pakistan’s total to 252 for the loss of seven wickets after 42 overs.

Overs 31-35

Seven runs came from Silva’s sixth over as he was dispatched for a boundary by Rizwan on the first ball of the over. Rizwan stepped down the crease and struck it right over the bowler’s head for a one-bounce four. Pakistan looked to take on the Sri Lankan bowlers even after the collapse, brave batting to say the least.

Wellalega was slapped over extra cover by Iftikhar as 150 came up for Pakistan. The spinner kept it tight as the boundary was followed by three dots which ended the 32nd over at 150 for the hosts. Madushan was brought in to bowl the 33rd over and was pulled in front of square by Rizwan over the ropes for six. A nonchalant strike from the wicketkeeper.

Madushan was then dispatched for a six on a free hit by Iftikhar after the pacer gave away three wides. He ended the over with two dot balls however 18 had already been conceded in that over. Wellalage was also dispatched over the ropes by Rizwan on the third ball of the over.

The fifth delivery of the same over was sent for a boundary by Rizwan to bring the tally to 10 for the over. Four dots from Wellalage in his last over ended his eight overs for 30 and one wicket.

A hobbling Theekshana came to bowl the 35th over and gave just six runs and put a stop to the onslaught for Pakistan. He was sent to the boundary on the fifth ball of the over but 2 singles from it ended the 35th over for Pakistan at 178 for the loss of five wickets.

26-30 overs

13 runs came from Pathirana’s eighth over as the pacer was kept on by the Sri Lankan skipper for the 26th over. Two boundaries, two wides and three singles released some pressure from the Pakistani batters as Pakistan’s tally reached 122 for the loss of four wickets.

Nawaz stepped out on the fifth delivery of Silva’s fourth over and try to heave the ball over the head of the fielder at long off. The ball fell just in front of the Lankan fielder and went for a boundary as Pakistan finished the 27th over for six runs. Nawaz was dismissed on the fourth delivery of the 28th over.

The left-handed batter failed to judge the spin of the ball as it crashed into his stumps. Rain interrupted play again after the wicket fell. After the delay, Iftikhar got three from the last two balls to end the 28th over. Silva continued his excellent spell in the 29th over as he only gave two runs from it.

Pakistan ended the over with their tally reaching 135 for the loss of five wickets. Three dots and three singles in Wellalage seventh over ended the 30th over for Pakistan, A good over from the youngster who was brought back into the attack by the captain to choke Pakistan.

Overs 21-25

Abdullah stepped out of the crease on the second ball of the 21st over and dispatched Dhananjaya de Silva for a six over the bowler’s head. Silva replaced Theekshana who had bowled well for his five overs and gave only 14 runs.

Shafique was then dismissed for his 52 as he tried to hook Pathirana who was brought back in the attack to replace Wellalage. Three runs and a wicket ended a really good over from Pathirana. Sri Lanka reviewed a not-out decision for caught behind in Silva’s second over.

The third umpire stuck with the onfield umpire’s decision as the 23 over ended for Pakistan. Four singles and a wicket ended the 24th over as Pathirana struck again in consecutive overs. Haris chipped it straight into the pacer’s hand as a slightly off-pace delivery did the job for the explosive batter.

Another excellent over was bowled Silva as Pakistan’s tally reached 109 for the loss of four wickets after 25 overs.

Overs 16-20

Wellalage got rid of Babar on the last ball of the 16th over. The ball spun sharply as it marginally missed the outside edge of Babar’s bat. The skipper had leaned into the delivery which raised his back leg up from inside the crease.

A very good stumping from Mendis dismissed the Pakistani skipper who looked good for his 29 runs. Theekshana continued his spell from the other end in the 17th over as he gave only two singles in what was a really good over.

The score card started ticking again for the hosts as they continued to rotate the strike in the 18th over. Six runs came in the Wellalage’s fifth over. Theekshana bowled back-to-back good overs as the spinner gave away only three runs in the 19th over.

Wellalage came back strong in his sixth over as the pacer only gave away 2 runs in the 20th. Pakistan’s tally reached 88 for the loss of two wickets after 20 overs.

Overs 11-15

Abdullah was trapped in front by the youngling Wellalage which was reviewed by the Sri Lankan skipper after the umpire did not raise his finger. The review stuck with the umpires call after the ball clipped Abdullah’s leg stump. He stepped out on the next delivery and dispatched it over the long on boundary for a 93m six. Eight runs ended a frenetic over with both the top order batters looking comfortable.

Matheesha Pathirana replaced Shanaka in the 12th over and went for eight runs in his first over. Wellalage gave only two runs in the 13th over as the spinner kept it tight and full. Pathirana was dispatched by two boundaries, one from each batter as the slingy pacer went for 10 runs in the 14th. 50 run partnership for the second wicket also came up for the hosts in the fourteenth over.

Theekshana was brough back into the attack by Shanaka who went for 4 in his third over. Pakistan’s tally reached 72 for the loss of one wicket at the end of 15th over.

Overs 6-10

Two singles and two doubles ended the sixth over for six runs. The Sri Lankan skipper brought himself on for the attack replacing Theekshana. Pramod was expensive in his fourth over as he was kept in the attack by the skipper giving away 8 runs.

Abdullah dispatched the fourth delivery from the over as he punched a back-of-the-length delivery between the cover and point fielder. Shanaka was also dispatched for a drive by skipper Babar Azam.

Seven runs came from the eighth as Pakistan’s tally reached 35. Pramod was replaced by Dunith Wellalage who took a five-for against India in the previous game.

The spinner started really well, giving away only one single in the ninth over. Shanaka kept himself in attack for the 10th over as the skipper kept it tight. Pakistan’s tally reached 40 at the end of 10 overs.

Overs 1-5

Pramod Madushan bowled a maiden first over as Pakistan came out to bat after winning the toss. Abdullah Shafique chipped the ball to mid-off on the last delivery of the over, but was lucky to escape as the ball fell short of the fielder inside the circle.

Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka brought on Maheesh Theekshana from the other end immediately after the maiden. Theekshana’s second over went for only two runs as he tried to pile pressure on the hosts. Four runs came from the bat on Madushan’s second over as the Pakistani openers started to settle in. Theekshana went for three runs in his second over as the Green Team carefully trodded along.

Both the openers had a nervy start, but Madushan struck in his third over, dismissing Fakhar Zaman with a beautiful delivery. Fakhar tried to reach for the incoming delivery but left too much gap open as the ball rattled into the stumps.

Skipper Babar Azam was brought in early at nine runs and dispatched the pacer for a boundary on the fourth delivery of the fifth over. Pakistan’s tally reached 13 for the loss of one wicket after five overs.

Pakistan win toss, opt to field

Earlier, Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat. Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka said he would have opted to bowl first anyway because of the conditions of the outfield.

The ODI match has been curtailed by five overs, and the power play is now nine overs.

Earlier, footage broadcast on television showed the characteristic blue covers spanning the R. Premadasa Stadium as threatening grey clouds loomed above.

Since there is no “reserve day” in the Super Fours in this match a washout today would end Pakistan’s Asia Cup campaign and send Sri Lanka straight into the final.


Weather forecaster AccuWeather predicted unfavourable conditions in Colombo. According to the forecaster, there was a 93 per cent probability of rain with a 56pc chance of thunderstorms affecting the tie during the day with “a couple of showers and a thunderstorm”.

Meanwhile, the PCB has put up a video showing Pakistani cricketers “focused on the method”.

Naseem out, Zaman in

Yesterday, Pakistani bowling coach Morne Morkel said injuries to their premier quicks were a big blow ahead of a must-win Asia Cup match but a “fantastic opportunity” for up-and-coming talent.

Naseem Shah was ruled out of the team’s final Super Four match. Pakistan Super League star Zaman Khan came in as a replacement and walked directly into the team, which was announced on the eve of the key match.

Shah and fellow quick Haris Rauf were injured in the team’s previous Super Four clash of the 50-over tournament, a prelude to the upcoming one-day international (ODI) World Cup.

“A big blow, picking up those little niggles, but in this same sort of thing what a fantastic opportunity for the guys coming in,” Morkel, a former South Africa fast bowler, told reporters.

“After going down against India, it’s a must-win game for us come tomorrow and I’m quite excited to see the new guys stepping in, to see their character, to see how they respond.”

Khan, 22, flew in from Pakistan and is already a popular name in national cricket after his heroics in this year’s PSL for champions Lahore Qalandars.

Pakistan side:

Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Haris, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Zaman Khan.

Sri Lanka side:

Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (capt), Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Pramod Madushan, Matheesha Pathirana