The Asia Cup 2023 has been a rollercoaster ride for cricket fans worldwide, filled with breathtaking moments, stellar performances, and unexpected twists. However, amid all the excitement and drama, disappointment loomed large as Pakistan’s journey to the final was cut short by Sri Lanka in the Super 4s clash of the event on Thursday (September 14).
The outcome of the match shattered the dreams of millions who were eagerly anticipating the ultimate showdown between arch-rivals India and Pakistan. One of Pakistan’s cricket legends, Shoaib Akhtar, also expressed his disappointment, echoing the sentiments of fans across the globe.
Pakistan’s valiant effort
In the crucial clash against Sri Lanka, Pakistan put up a commendable performance with the bat. Abdullah Shafique’s brilliant knock of 52 runs and Mohammad Rizwan‘s resilient 86 runs laid a solid foundation for the Green Team. Iftikhar Ahmed (47) further stabilized Pakistan’s innings, powering them to a challenging total of 252/7 in their rain-reduced 42 overs. Sri Lanka’s Matheesha Pathirana emerged as the game-changer, taking three crucial wickets for his side.
Kusal Mendis’ heroics
In reply, Sri Lanka was guided by the talented Kusal Mendis, who showcased his class with a match-winning knock of 91 runs off 87 balls. Charith Asalanka (49) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (48) also chipped in with crucial contributions.
In the end, the match went down to the wire, but Sri Lanka held their nerves and secured a two-wicket victory via the DLS Method method. While Sri Lanka’s win was a cause for jubilation among their supporters, it left Pakistani fans disheartened.
Also READ: Sri Lanka vs Pakistan match in Asia Cup 2023 ends in a rare equal runs and overs scenario
Shoaib Akhtar expresses displeasure over missed opportunity of India-Pakistan final
Known for his candid and passionate views, Pakistan veteran cricketer Akhtar didn’t hold back when sharing his thoughts on Pakistan’s loss and the missed opportunity of an India-Pakistan final.
In a video posted on his official X (formerly Twitter) account, Akhtar began by acknowledging the outstanding performance of young pace sensation Zaman Khan, who had made an impact despite joining the team shortly before the match.
Nevertheless, as the video continued, Akhtar’s frustration became palpable. He highlighted how the stage was once again perfectly set for the dream final between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, which fans from all corners of the world eagerly awaited but lamented over the fact that this dream remained elusive, as history had shown in past tournaments.
“You’ve seen the match. Pakistan are out of the tournament. The match that was made in favour of Pakistan, was all done by Zaman Khan. He landed the day before yesterday and this boy did excellent bowling in the Pakistan Super League. Whatever chances Pakistan had of winning the match were all because of him. Shaheen Afridi also got a few wickets but credit goes to Zaman. He bowled really well,” said Akhtar.
“Pakistan deserved to win go to the Asia Cup final but they are out of the tournament. The whole world wanted to watch Pakistan play the final. They can be criticised a lot as they were touted as the ‘favourites’ but are out of the tournament now. Unfortunately, there can’t be a Pakistan vs India match in the final, it has never happened (kabhi Pakistan, India ka match (final) ho nahi sakta, kabhi hua nahi). This was the chance but Sri Lanka deserved to be the finalists. They were the far better team,” he added.
Embarrassing loss. Really disappointed .
Wake up call guys!!! pic.twitter.com/qDtQWM7YJJ
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) September 14, 2023
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