Sri Lanka was the second nation from Group B to advance to the Super-4 round of the 2022 Asia Cup in the UAE. With the conclusion of all of the group stage games in both groups, Sri Lanka has now joined the likes of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan in competing for a spot in the final in a round robin format.
Here’s a look at their journey so far:
Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan: Afghanistan won by 8 wickets
Sri Lanka got off a horror start as they lost to Afghanistan in the first match of the Asia Cup, 2022. The Afghans chased down 106 in in 11 overs, handing the Sri Lankan team a crushing defeat.
Fazalhaq Farooqi was instrumental in getting Afghanistan’s campaign off to a strong start. Kusal Mendis was caught for LBW by him in just the fourth delivery of the over. After the Afghans reviewed, the umpire had to reverse his first decision to declare no out. The very next delivery saw Farooqi dismiss Charith Asalanka to give Sri Lanka their second wicket of the game. In the next over, a slightly controversial decision saw Pathum Nissanka walk back to the pavilion after the third umpire upheld the onfield call to rule him caught behind even though snicko didn’t really show a spike. Farooqi then delivered a maiden over in the powerplay after reducing Sri Lanka to 5/3 after two overs.
Sri Lanka did manage to finish the powerplay strongly after a 20-run over. Bhanuka Rajapaksa was the only Sri Lankan who was successful in scoring runs. He and Danushka Gunathilaka stitched a partnership together to help Sri Lanka recover from those initial setbacks. But it was not enough as SL kept on losing wickets at regular intervals, never managing to take off. After Mujeeb ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi‘s and Mujeeb ur Rahman’s wickets in the middle overs, Sri Lanka was eventually bowled out for 105 runs in 19.4 overs.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz, making his debut, took on Matheesha Pathirana to score 16 runs in the third over, helping Afghanistan take control of the powerplay in the second innings. Afghanistan quickly reached 41 for no loss in just four overs before doubling the total in the next two overs. Afghanistan scored a total of 83 runs during the powerplay.
There were still plenty of overs, and Afghanistan only needed 23 more runs. Ibrahim Zadran subsequently decreased the deficit with a few more boundaries before being forced to return to the pavilion due to an unfortunate run out. Nevertheless, Hazratullah Zazai led his squad to win as Afghanistan finisshed the match with 59 balls left.
Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh: Sri Lanka win by 2 wickets
Sri Lanka won a thrilling match by two wickets to go to the Super Four, eliminating Bangladesh from the 2022 Asia Cup. Despite appearing to be in control at key moments, Bangladesh gave up too many extras (8 wides and 4 no-balls), helping Sri Lanka chase down the target of 184 with just four balls remaining.
Bangladesh did not start any of their openers in the do-or-die match. Sabbir Rahman was sent back early but Mehidy Hasan Miraz shone on the powerplay, hitting a couple boundaries. Shakib Al Hasan struggled at the other end, but he provided Bangladesh a solid start. With back-to-back ramp boundaries, Shakib finally got rolling, and Bangladesh finished the powerplay 55/1, the highest in the tournament.
Just when it looked that the Bangladesh batters will press the accelerator, Wanindu Hasaranga took the wicket of Hasan. Shakib slowed down, but Sri Lanka continued to make progress on the opposite end. Mushfiqur nicked a short delivery from Chamika Karunaratne’s first over, just outside off, to the keeper. As a result, with 9 over remained in the innings, Bangladesh was in serious trouble at 88/4.
Afif Hossain and Mahmudullah then partnered together to rebuilt the innings. Hossain hit Hasaranga for two consecutive sixes and fours as a sign of his intentions, and Mahmudullah did the same in the third over of Hasaranga. Asitha Fernando was also destroyed by Hossain, leading Bangladesh to 138/4 before the last onslaught. While Afif and Mahmudullah dropped in quick succession against the flow of play, Mosaddek Hossain once again shone with the bat with an undefeated cameo to lead his team past an impressive 180.
In the second innings, Sri Lanka only managed to score 13 runs in the first three overs before the openers made up for lost time in the next two powerplay overs, hitting 35 runs. But just as Sri Lanka appeared to be in control, Bangladesh’s short ball strategy got them wickets. Ebadot Hossain got off to an incredible start by using short balls to dismiss Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, and Danushka Gunathilaka. Taskin Ahmed also sent Danushka Gunathilaka with a short-pitched delivery, reducing SL to 77/4
However, Sri Lankan Kusal Mendis was excellent against both pace and spin. He was given a repreive when Mushfiqur Rahman dropped him in the second over. He was again out, but luckily for him the bowler had overstepped. He went on to score 60 runs off of 37. Then skipper Dasun Shanaka took control hitting sixes of Hussain to shift the momentum in the island nation’s favour.
Inspite of Sri Lanka continuously losing wickets, Shanaka managed to keep them in the game with timely boundaries. Then Asitha Fernando took on the Bangladeshi bowling attack, hitting them for boundaries at crucial intervals. The situation was made worse when Mahedi stepped in front of the crease to gift Sri Lanka a no ball when they needed just three runs off of four to win. Sri Lanka accepted the gift and Fernando took SL over the finishing line.