Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan finished his campaign in Asia Cup 2022 as the top run-scorer after surpassing Virat Kohli, who notched up his 71st international ton against Afghanistan in India’s final ‘Super 4’ game on Thursday. Rizwan, who was 50 runs short of Kohli’s tally of 276 runs, hit 55 runs off 49 balls against Sri Lanka in the final, albeit in a losing cause. Sri Lanka were crowned Asia Cup champions for the sixth time after Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s unbeaten 71 and Wanindu Hasaranga’s all-round display drove them to a 23-run win on Sunday.
Hasaranga claimed three wickets in one over and Pramod Madushan claimed a career-best 4-34 to bowl out Pakistan for 147 in Dubai. Pakistan lost skipper Babar Azam for just 5 and Fakhar Zaman perished for a nought. Rizwan combined with Iftikhar (32) to revive the innings but regular wickets derailed Pakistan’s chase.
Rizwan was the top-scorer for Pakistan but his sluggish approach didn’t impress many former players including Wasim Akram, who launched a scathing attack on the wicketkeeper-batter. The bowling great revealed getting slammed by online trolls when he criticised Rizwan’s performance against Hong Kong. The 30-year-old had scored 78 off 57 in the group stage match.
“At the beginning of the tournament, I had said that the openers won’t mess up but struggle in games like these. That’s exactly what happened today,” Akram told host broadcaster Star Sports after the final.
“I’m very sceptical about ‘anchoring’ in T20 cricket. It’s overrated because you have got 10 wickets and 20 overs. I like India’s new template and Sri Lanka also didn’t have anybody who played the role of an anchor. It’s unfair to pick one guy but he (Rizwan) is a glaring example of Pakistan’s approach. You can’t have Rizwan batting at strike rate of 104 in the 16th over when you are chasing 171,” said Sanjay Manjrekar in response.
Akram added – “He (Rizwan) had done the same thing against Hong Kong if you remember. I criticised him, which was healthy criticism. And people attacked me on social media. Pakistan people said that I don’t support Rizwan. If you want my opinion, I will give you the right and straightforward opinion. I am not the guy who will lie about what I see. Black is black and white is white for me.”
Rizwan reached his fifty with a six off Chamika Karunaratne but soon fell to Hasaranga, who triggered Pakistan’s late collapse. Chamika Karunaratne got Haris Rauf out on the final ball to ignite celebrations in the Sri Lankan camp.
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