Wanindu Hasaranga on Friday led Sri Lanka’s bowling charge to set up a comfortable five-wicket win over Pakistan in their dress rehearsal for the Asia Cup 2022 final. Hasaranga spun his web around the opposition batters to return figures of 3-21, which eventually led to Pakistan being bowled out for 121 in 19.1 overs in Dubai. Sri Lanka in response slipped to 29-3 in the chase before Pathum Nissanka (55 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24) put on a partnership of 51 as the island nation achieved their target with three overs to spare.
Hasaranga clean bowled Babar Azam and finished his spell with two successive wickets of Iftikhar Ahmed and Asif Ali to flatten the opposition batting, which could not survive the allotted 20 overs. Spinner Maheesh Theekshana and debutant pacer Pramod Madushan took two wickets each as Pakistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
While Babar said the game was a “good learning experience” ahead of the final, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt questioned the side’s batting approach versus Hasaranga.
“The way Pakistan’s batters got out was quite disappointing. All their lives they have played tape ball cricket. How can they not read Hasaranga’s variations from the finger?” said Butt on his YouTube channel.
“Straight finger means the ball will spin away and behind the hand means the delivery will come in. Iftikhar Ahmed could not read a googly in an earlier match. In this game as well, he couldn’t pick the variation,” he added.
Sri Lanka bowlers tied down the batters through their disciplined bowling but Butt blamed poor shot selection for their downfall. Pakistan reached 49-1 after six overs but lost last nine wickets for 58 runs.
“The kind of shots Pakistan batters played, I won’t call it a bad day for them. I would describe it as very poor shot selection. We could have said it was a bad day for them if they had some poor luck. However, batters were getting dismissed due to their inability to pick bowlers’ variations.”
“I am sure Pakistan will be a different team in the final. They will come in with a different attitude. Having said that, there are serious batting concerns. Pakistan have won games by showing brilliance in patches. There has been no wholesome performance,” Butt explained.
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