The wait for the first-ever India vs Pakistan Asia Cup final continued on Thursday as Sri Lanka defeated Babar Azam and his men in Colombo.
The India-Pakistan cricket rivalry, particularly in the Asia Cup, has been one of the most-anticipated clashes. The two teams have faced each other 15 times in the ODI format of the Asia Cup, with India winning 8 of them and Pakistan 5. Two matches ended with no result.
India is the most successful side in the history of the Asia Cup with seven titles to their name, while Pakistan have won it twice.
In the 2023 edition of the Asia Cup, the matches between India and Pakistan were marked by high drama and thrilling performances. One of the matches was halted due to rain at Colombo’s R.Premadasa Stadium, with India at a score of 147-2 from 24.1 overs.
The match resumed the next day. In another encounter, India triumphed over Pakistan by a massive margin of 228 runs, thanks to the stellar performances of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, who scored centuries, and Kuldeep Yadav, who took five wickets. However, a Group A clash in Pallekele, Sri Lanka, had to be abandoned due to rain, resulting in a no-result situation where each team received a point.
Ahead of the tournament, Rohit Sharma was asked why India and Pakistan had never faced in the final of the Asia Cup before. The Indian captain was hopeful that this time the norm would change.
“I don’t know. What can I say about that? Probably…maybe in this tournament,” said Rohit.
Both teams have faced each other in the finals of ICC tournaments before, with India winning the 2007 T20 World Cup while Pakistan got the victory in the 2017 Champions trophy. However, on Thursday, things didn’t go to plan for Babar Azam and his men.
PAK vs SL: Report
In the rain-curtailed match, which was eventually reduced to 42 overs per side, Pakistan had posted a challenging 252 as the target for Sri Lanka on the back of Mohammed Rizwan’s 82 not out and valuable knocks from Abdullah Shafique and Iftikhar Ahmed.
But Kusal Mendis had other plans as he scored a well-made 91 and got support from the other end from Sadeera Samarawickrama. Charith Asalanka then took the mantle to see his team home but Pakistan did mount a late fight back with some wickets in the end.
However, Asalanka hit a boundary off the penultimate ball of Zaman in the final over and then nudged an easy double to ensure Sri Lanka will face India in the final on Sunday.