It’s safe to say that Pakistan’s Shadab Khan had one of his worst days on the cricket field during the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka. The all-rounder slipped while trying to save an overthrow in the 5th over of the Sri Lanka innings and the ball hit his head. He had to go off the field but was quickly back to complete his full quota of 4 overs with pretty good figures of 1 for 28. However, his day went progressively worse towards the latter half of Sri Lanka’s innings. He dropped Bhanuka Rajapaksa off Haris Rauf’s bowling in the 17th over when the left-hander was on 46. It was not the easiest of chances but Shadab, known to be one of the better fielders in the Pakistan unit, settled nicely under the skier only to spill it. In the next over, Shadab collided with Asif Ali while once again trying to take Rajapaka’s catch and this time, the ball also went for a six.
Rajapaksa went to smash an unbeaten 71 off 45 balls to take Sri Lanka from 58 for 5 at one stage to a challenging 170 for 6 at the end of their 20 overs. The Sri Lanka bowlers led by Pramod Madushan (4/34) and Wanindi Hasaranga (3/27) made life really difficult for the Pakistan middle and lower order after a subdued start from the top order. The Babar Azam-led side could only manage 147 in their 20 overs as Sri Lanka won the final by 23 runs to claim their sixth Asia Cup title.
After the match, Shadab Khan took to Twitter to take ‘full responsibility’ for ‘letting his team down’ by dropping the crucial catches of Rajapaksa. “Catches win matches. Sorry, I take responsibility for this loss. I let my team down. Positives for team, @iNaseemShah, @HarisRauf14, @mnawaz94, and the entire bowling attack was great. @iMRizwanPak fought hard. The entire team tried their best. Congratulations to Sri Lanka,” he tweeted.
“Want to congratulate Sri Lanka. Outstanding cricket. The way we dominated them early, their partnership after that was outstanding. The pitch was good, like the Dubai wicket, always fun to play here. As a batting unit, we didn’t do according to our potential. We didn’t finish the way we would’ve wanted to (with the ball). But there are lots of positives from the tournament. Our fielding wasn’t up to the mark today, and our middle-order couldn’t finish well today. But there were lot of individual performances: Rizwan, Shadab, Nawaz and Naseem. The way Naseem expressed himself in his first tournament. (Batting fine tuning?) Part of the game. The more you learn from these ups and downs is good. But you need to reduce your mistakes,” said Pakistan captain Babar Azam.
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