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Sri Lanka defeats Pakistan in the Asia Cup final thanks to Rajapaksa and Hasaranga’s heroics

Sri Lanka’s young cricket team put on an impressive all-round performance to win the Asia Cup final for the sixth time on Sunday, defeating Pakistan by a margin of 23 runs.

At the Dubai International Stadium, Rajapaksa smashed an unbeaten 71 to help Sri Lanka overcome a top-order collapse and reach 170-6.

When they returned, Hasaranga took three wickets in one over and Pramod Madushan took a career-high 4-34 to bowl Pakistan out for 147 in exactly 20 overs.

Sri Lanka were reeling at 58-5 in the ninth over of their innings after their top order wilted early.

Naseem Shah started wide but quickly redeemed himself by uprooting Kusal Mendis’ off-stump with the day’s third legitimate delivery.

Haris Rauf dismissed Pathum Nissanka and Danushka Gunathilaka in consecutive overs, and Iftikhar Ahmed took a sharp return catch to end Dhananjaya de Silva’s 28-ball knock.

Sri Lanka innings

With Sri Lanka 67-5 at the halfway point of their innings, Hasaranga (36) and Rajapaksa (36) combined for their most productive partnership of 58 runs off 36 balls.

Hasaranga was bowled out by Rauf (3-29), but Rajapaksa remained unbeaten after an explosive knock that included three sixes and six fours.

Sri Lanka scored 103 runs in the last 10 overs, thanks largely to his 45-ball blitz.

When they returned, Madushan took two wickets in two balls, shocking Pakistan.

Fakhar Zaman dragged the next ball onto his stumps after Babar Azam was caught at short fine leg.

After combining with Mohammad Rizwan (55) to revive their innings, Madushan returned to dismiss Iftikhar (32).

Pakistan’s chase was effectively derailed when Hasaranga dismissed the dangerous Rizwan, Asif Ali, and Khushdil Shah in the same over.

The victory would be sweeter for Sri Lanka, which was unable to host the tournament at home due to a political and economic crisis in the island nation, despite retaining the hosts’ honour.

After being defeated by Afghanistan in its opening game, Sri Lanka made a stunning comeback with five consecutive victories in the tournament. Sri Lanka also defeated Pakistan in the previous Super 4 game.

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