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Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in thrilling contest to face India in Asia Cup final

Dasun Shanaka's side won by two wickets
Sri Lanka’s Charith Asalanka (R) and Dhananjaya de Silva during the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo early September 15, 2023. AFP
Sri Lanka’s Charith Asalanka (R) and Dhananjaya de Silva during the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo early September 15, 2023. AFP
Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis plays a shot during the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on September 14, 2023. AFP
Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis plays a shot during the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on September 14, 2023. AFP
Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan plays a shot during the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four one-day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on September 14, 2023. AFP
Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan plays a shot during the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four one-day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on September 14, 2023. AFP
Ground officials stand near the boundary as rain delays Pakistan and Sri Lanka match of the Asia Cup at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on September 14, 2023. Photo via X/@TheRealPCB
Ground officials stand near the boundary as rain delays Pakistan and Sri Lanka match of the Asia Cup at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on September 14, 2023. Photo via X/@TheRealPCB
Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam (L) plays a shot during the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on September 14, 2023. AFP
Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam (L) plays a shot during the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on September 14, 2023. AFP

Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in a thrilling contest of the Asia Cup at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday. Dasun Shanaka’s side would face India in the final of the event on September 17.

“What a game, not for the faint hearted !” wrote Sri Lankan great Sanath Jayasuriya on X, formerly known as Twitter, after seeing his side reach the Asia Cup final for the 12th time.

Debutant Zaman Khan fought his heart out in the final, but could not repeat his heroics of the Pakistan Super League where he led Lahore Qalandars to their second PSL title in 2023.

Pakistan had set a 253-run target for Sri Lanka in the rain-reduced match.

After DLS adjustment a run has been taken off Sri Lanka’s target, according to ESPNcricinfo. Pakistan finished at 252. Sri Lanka’s target would also be 252 in 42 overs.

Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan and all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed were the key for Pakistan to lead the innings to a total where their bowlers, including debutant Zaman Khan, would be able to defend in match which was reduced to 42 overs due to rain at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday.

Rizwan was not out for 86. He made a 108 runs partnership with Ahmed who got out on 47.

Earlier, Pakistan were struggling to put in a big total as the top order stuttered to capitalise on the powerplay which was needed to ensure the side had a good run rate.

Abdullah Shafique, who made an impression with a fifty in his comeback match, was the latest to return to the pavilion after he tried to hit a boundary on a bouncer but the ball went off the top edge and was taken by Pramod Madhushan at deep square leg. After his dismissal, Pakistan were 100/3.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam won the toss and elected to bat against Sri Lanka after rain forced the knockout Asia Cup contest to 45-overs-a-side on Thursday.

The match is effectively a semi-final with the winner to meet India in the final of the 50-over tournament, a prelude to the ODI World Cup starting in October.

The start of the match has been delayed by 75 minutes due to heavy rain in the afternoon and more expected in the evening.

Pakistan have included young pace bowler Zaman Khan in their line-up after injuries to premier quicks Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf.

Naseem will fly back to Pakistan while Rauf is with the team after they suffered a 228-run loss to India.

Pakistan have made two changes in the side announced Wednesday with Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique coming in for Imam-ul-Haq, who has a back spasm, and Saud Shakeel, who has a fever.

Sri Lanka have made two changes to their team which lost their previous Super Four match to India by 41 runs. Kusal Perera and Pramod Madushan make the XI.

Teams

Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (capt), Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Pramod Madushan, Matheesha Pathirana

Pakistan: Mohammad Haris, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Abdullah Shafique, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim, Zaman Khan

Umpires: Ahmed Shah Pakteen (AFG), Langton Rusere (ZIM)

TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney (NZL)

Match referee: Javagal Srinath (IND)

(With input from AFP)

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