Sri Lanka wins Asia Cup, Beats Pakistan by 23 runs in Dubai

Sri Lanka 124 for 5 (Nissanka 55*, Rauf 2-19, Hasnain 2-21) beat Pakistan 121 (Babar 30, Hasaranga 3-21, Theekshana 2-21, Madushan 2-21) by five wickets

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Pathum Nissanka and Wanindu Hasaranga - the architects of Sri Lanka's fourth straight win in the tournament [ Photo © AFP/Getty Images ]

Yes, it was another chasing side winning in Dubai, the venue now having seen 17 victories for chasing sides in the last 20 T20Is. But this time, Sri Lanka’s bowlers had arguably put the legwork in for the victory, before the second innings could even begin.

Pakistan’s innings could never quite achieve lift-off, and when the middle overs came, Wanindu Hasaranga put in his first big performance of the tournament, taking 3 for 21. After his strikes, Pakistan’s horizons contracted substantially, despite the best efforts of Mohammad Nawaz, who seemed to be striking well in the 26 he made off 18, before he was run out. Eventually, Pakistan succumbed to 121.

Sri Lanka were rattled by Pakistan’s pace in the powerplay, slipping to 29 for 3 at one stage. But so modest was the target, they could afford to take it slow. Pathum Nissanka anchored the chase, hitting an unbeaten 55 off 48. Thanks to less substantial but more aggressive innings from Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Dasun Shanaka, Sri Lanka ambled home with 18 balls and five wickets to spare.

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