Asia Cup 2022: Key takeaways from Sri Lanka's campaign
Underdogs Sri Lanka outclassed Pakistan to claim their sixth Asia Cup title on Sunday. Batting first, SL managed a respectable 170/6, thanks to a crunch exhibition from Bhanuka Rajapaksa (71*). Later, Pramod Madushan (4/34) and Wanindu Hasaranga (3/27) proved to be a handful for Pakistan. SL had a well-rounded squad that eventually got them the honors. Here are the takeaways from their campaign.
Mendis, Nissanka have a fruitful run at the top
Despite Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka falling short in the final, the duo deserves a round of applause for nailing their roles throughout. Nissanka, who played as an anchor, managed 173 runs at 34.60, including back-to-back fifties versus India and Pakistan in Super Four. Mendis was fearless, hoarding 155 runs at 156.57. The right-hander was tonking the bowlers mercilessly in the PP overs.
Hasaranga spun the games in SL's favor
A player of Hasaranga's caliber is a luxury to any T20 side. The spin maestro, who had a scintillating run in the IPL 2022, concluded as the second-highest wicket-taker in Asia Cup 2022. Hasaranga pocketed nine scalps at 18.89, including three wickets in the finale after being wicketless in the first three overs. Not to forget, he stunned Pakistan with a ferocious-looking 21-ball 36.
Rajapaksa stands tall!
Rajapaksa's swashbuckling abilities with the bat have been the talk of the cricket fraternity since IPL 2022. He was at his brutal best in the Asia Cup, with impactful knocks throughout. His scores read 38(29), 2(4), 31(14), 25*(17), 24(19), and a 45-ball 71* in the finale, studded with six fours and three sixes. In short, it was a memorable run for the middle-order batter.
Dream starts for pacers Madushanka, Madushan
Left-armer Dilshan Madushanka was all class since debuting against Afghanistan in Asia Cup 2022. He claimed six scalps in total, averaging 25.83, acing both powerplay and death-overs. Later, he found an able partner in Pramod Madushan, who bagged 2/21 on his T20I debut in Super Four against Pakistan. Notably, the right-arm pacer shone on the night of the final, garnering eye-popping figures worth 4/34.