About the Match
Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been knocked out of contention for the Asia Cup title as Bangladesh defeated Pakistan by 5 wickets to seal the berth in the finals against India. Now, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will face each other on 4th March at Dhaka, before returning home and both will want to redeem themselves with a win here. They have only been victorious against associate team UAE and failed to rise to the occasion against the two finalists; they will now try to finish third on the table in order to bolster their confidence before the World T20 series starts in a few days.
It was yet another blow as they suffered a humiliating defeat against the hosts and got knocked out of the tournament; the batting line-up collapsed to muster only 129 runs on board and the bowlers failed to deliver under crunch situations. Although Sarfraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik tried to build the foundation with the bat, the rest of the batsmen like Mohammad Hafeez, Sharjeel Khan, Umar Akmal and the captain himself Shahid Afridi, put up a dismal performance.
Speedsters Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Irfan took 3 wickets between them while spinners Afridi and Malik notched up two scalps and also contained the run-flow of the opposition, but the total was too small to defend against a rejuvenated Bangladesh side. In the previous match against UAE, the bowlers had successfully restricted the opponents to 129 runs with quick breakthroughs; Amir, Irfan, Afridi and Sami were among the wicket-takers while the batsmen Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik posted a brilliant 114-run partnership for the 4th wicket to win the match easily.
They are a talented lot with specialist bowlers like Amir, Irfan, Mohammad Nawaz, Sami and others but the batsmen must put up consistent efforts to build strong totals if batting first.
Against India, they lost quick wickets and were left clueless against speedsters like Pandya, Bumrah and Nehra; Kapugedera fought a lone battle in the top order scoring 30 runs while Siriwardana, Perera and Kulasekra tried their best to add some runs. However, with only 138 runs to defend, they lost the match by 5 wickets despite Kulasekara’s 2-21 that removed the Indian openers and caused a scare for the opposition. Herath was back in the squad and he took a wicket while Shanaka and Perera also contributed with a wicket each but they all gave away too many runs in the end.
Against Bangladesh too, the bowling squad failed to pack a punch and they ended up facing 148 runs as the target; Chandimal and Jayasuriya started the chase well but the others down the line failed to keep the scoreboard ticking and lost the match by 23 runs.
Their batting has been a concern and they will need to pull up their socks here if they want to outwit the Pakistani pace attack; the bowlers too have been unable to combine well and unless they come up with a strong game plan, it would be difficult for them to make a comeback here.
Both teams have struggled to transit from the old guard to the new and they need to find motivation within; while the contest could go down the wire as they both have talented players, we feel Pakistan with its aggressive bowling, is better placed to win the match on Friday