Mohammad Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan with 55 off 49 balls in Sunday’s Asia Cup 2022 final but his traditional batting approach seemed unfitting in the format, as Sri Lanka coasted to a 23-run win in Dubai to clinch their sixth title. Pacer Pramod Madushan and leggie Wanindu Hasaranga shared seven wickets between them to bowl out Pakistan for 147 while chasing 171. Sri Lanka earlier rode on Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s unbeaten 71 to get to a competitive total after being put to bat first in the all-important game.
Rizwan, who surpassed India’s Virat Kohli as the highest run-getter of the tournament with 282, reached his fifty with a six off Chamika Karunaratne. But he soon perished to Hasaranga’s leg-spin, leaving his side tottering at 110 for five in the 17th over. He also drew criticism for his sluggish approach in the chase.
Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq underlined the importance of strike-rate in T20s, saying Rajapaksa’s knock would have been pointless if it had not come briskly at 157.78. He indirectly touched upon Rizwan scoring his fifty-plus innings at a mediocre strike rate of 117.57.
“Hasaranga ne 21 balls mein 31 kiye and Rajapaksa ne 45 balls me 71 kiye. 70 runs dusre players bhi karte hai, lekin jis pace aur situation me inhone kiya… woh bohot badi baat thi. Ek aadmi 70 kar deta aur Sri Lanka ka score 140 hota, toh Pakistan bana leta aur un 70 runs ka koi faayda nahi hai. (Hasaranga scored 31 and Rajapaksa scored 71, those were two great knocks. The pace at which the runs and the situation from which the runs were made was a great sight. Had the 70 runs come at a slower pace, the total would only have been around 140, which Pakistan would have chased down. So, that 70 runs would have been of no use)” said Inzamam on his YouTube channel.
Apart from Rizwan, Babar also faced criticism for managing only 68 runs in six innings of the Asia Cup, which acts as a precursor to the 20-over World Cup in Australia.
Inzamam said Pakistan could not capitalize on the pressure built by their quicks Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf. Naseem struck in the opening over as he bowled Kusal Mendis for a first-ball duck. Rauf then removed Pathum Nissanka and Danushka Gunathilaka as the islanders slipped to 36-3 in the powerplay.
“All of Sri Lanka’s pacers are newcomers, none of them are experienced, but they have come having done their homework. Pakistan played well in the tournament, but not very well.
“Many of their flaws were on show. They could not capitalize on the pressure, which helped them reduce Sri Lanka for 58-5 at one stage of the game,” added the Pakistan great.