Euro 2020 Special
 

Asia Cup 2022: A Prelude to Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Final

The 2022 Asia Cup came as a shocker to most viewers as defending champions India failed to make it to the finals. After losing their opening matches, Pakistan and Sri Lanka made a stellar comeback in the Asia Cup to earn their way into the final. Afghanistan were the shocking underdogs, heading into the Super Four as group leaders.

Here let us look at some crucial talking points from the tournament.

 

India still finding the right squad

India were the favourite to reach the final, as they are the most successful side in this tournament. However, the Men in Blue fell short and succumbed to Pakistan in their Super Four rematch. The match was under India’s control for most parts until an easy catch dropped by Arshdeep Singh changed the course of events.

India had another chance to make it to the final had they prevailed against Sri Lanka. Maybe the Indian side had underestimated the Lions, considering they barely made it to the Super Four. Sri Lanka outwitted the Men in Blue in a match that went down to the wire.

Perhaps one of the reasons why India failed this time is because of the squad selection. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was amongst the best bowlers in the tournament, having taken 11 wickets so far. However, with no bowling support following Ravindra Jadeja’s injury, it got difficult for the Men in Blue to mitigate runs while fielding, which was one of the reasons for their shortcoming.

Understandably, India are investing in their youth and allowing them to compete on the big stage. However, it is best to switch to more experienced players when the results stop coming in. Perhaps Mohammed Siraj or Shami would have fared better and provided Bhuvneshwar Kumar with much-needed support.

 

Pakistan complete their comeback

Pakistan are on a roll at the moment as they make their way into the final of the Asia Cup. They started their journey with a defeat against India, which they made amends to in the Super Four rematch. Pakistan’s bigger scare was facing Afghanistan in the second Super Four match, which saw the fans and players alike let their emotions get the best of them.

We are all familiar with Afghanistan’s bowling attack by now. Pakistan learnt it the hard way when the underdogs scalped two crucial wickets in the penultimate over. 11 runs were required off the final over as Pakistan’s Asia Cup final hopes laid on a young Naseem Shah’s shoulders. The young pacer, who made his white-ball cricket debut in this tournament, converted a couple of poorly-pitched yorkers into sixes to take his side into the finals

The celebrations were jubilant as Pakistan breathed a sigh of relief. Afghanistan, however, were distraught, as they let a potential win slip away so poorly.

 

Sri Lanka making a comeback statement of their own

Having lost horribly against Afghanistan in the group stage, Sri Lanka fought their way back into contention by winning the remaining fixtures emphatically. They even beat defending champions India to squander their Asia Cup aspirations. Sri Lanka are on course to maintain its status as the second most successful nation in the Asia Cup.

The Lions levelled the score against Afghanistan in their first Super Four match with an emphatic win. They meet Pakistan on Sunday in the final to decide who earns the title of Champions of Asia. Given the current circumstances in the country, perhaps their Asia Cup success will bring some joy to their supporters.

 

Afghanistan, a great team in the making

We witnessed the true potential of the underdogs Afghanistan in the 2022 Asia Cup. Beating Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the group stage is no ordinary feat for an underdog like themselves. Many of their players were impressive in this tournament. The likes of Ibrahim Zadran and Mujeeb Ur Rahman were simply outstanding in the 2022 Asia Cup.

In the years to come, Afghanistan might become one of the favourites in world cricket, given their recent growth.

Also Read: Mohammad Rizwan Tops the ICC T20I Rankings: Rizwan Displaces His Captain Amam

   

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